Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index dropped more than 1.7 percent Thursday on profit-taking, with traders cautiously watching Japan's expected partial lifting of a state of emergency imposed over the coronavirus outbreak.
The Nikkei 225 index fell 1.74 percent, or 352.27 points, to close at 19,914.78, while the broader Topix index slipped 1.91 percent, or 28.14 points, to 1,446.55.
Profit-taking in the high-tech sector helped send overall shares down, said Shinichi Yamamoto, a broker at Okasan Securities in Tokyo.
"Japan and other major countries are restarting their economies, but we can't be too optimistic," Yamamoto told AFP.
The Japanese government plans to lift a state of emergency declared over the coronavirus in most of the country later in the day, though not yet the capital Tokyo and other urban centres.
Meanwhile, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech that he would closely watch the impact of the pandemic and reiterated that he would not hesitate to carry out additional monetary policy easing if necessary.
The dollar fetched 106.92 yen in Asian trade, against 107.03 yen in New York on Thursday.
In Tokyo, high-tech shares lost ground as industrial robot maker Fanuc dropped 3.85 percent to 17,200 yen with Tokyo Electron down 2.98 percent at 22,075 yen.
Sony plunged 3.89 percent to 6,794 yen after it said its annual net profit fell sharply on lower revenue from games and electronics products, warning of a tough year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Takeda Pharmaceutical rallied 4.65 percent to 4,028 yen after it announced a better-than-expected profit forecast for the current fiscal year.