Tokyo stocks fell back Wednesday, weighed down by an overnight plunge on Wall Street.
The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange shed 241.59 points, or 1.04 percent, to end at 23,032.54. On Tuesday, the key market gauge rose 184.18 points.
The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 15.49 points, or 0.96 percent, at 1,605.40, after advancing 11.15 points the previous day.
The Tokyo market succumbed to strong selling pressure from the outset of Wednesday's trading, as many market players were discouraged by U.S. stocks' continued fall the previous day, briefly pushing down the Nikkei below the 23,000 mark with a loss of nearly 400 points.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.11 percent and 2.25 percent, respectively, on Tuesday, after the three-day Labor Day weekend.
Sentiment in the Tokyo market was also hurt by news reports that trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine developed by Britain's AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University have been put on hold, as well as media reports that the U.S. government is considering adding to its blacklist major Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., brokers said.
Although resisting further falls, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes fluctuated tightly way below Tuesday's closing levels in the afternoon.
"Investors were dismayed by U.S. tech issues' continued plunge on Tuesday," an official at an asset management firm said.
Noting that the U.S. market fall was "a healthy correction," Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Naito Securities Co., suggested that the overall market environment has not deteriorated sharply.
"Investors were still buying stocks with positive news," he added.
Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,497 to 588 in the TSE's first section, while 87 issues were unchanged. Volume increased to 1.360 billion shares from Tuesday's 1.074 billion shares.
Stocks in the semiconductor sector, including test device-maker Advantest Corp. and chipmaking gear manufacturer Tokyo Electron, came under heavy selling pressure, in the wake of the Nasdaq's steep fall.
Inpex Corp. and other oil names dropped, reflecting a plunge in crude oil prices.
Among other major losers were technology investor SoftBank Group Corp. and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co.
On the other hand, Nintendo Co. rose 1.49 percent, in response to a media report that the game maker will boost the production of its Switch console.
Shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K. and control equipment-maker Omron Corp. also went up.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average plummeted 280 points to end at 22,970.