Japan's Nikkei plunges.
The Nikkei lost 382.43 points, or 2.35 per cent, to end at 15,908.88 after nine consecutive trading days of increase.
The broader-based Topix index was down 10.14 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 1,292.15 after rising 0.95 per cent on December 30, the last trading day of 2013.
Exporters were also pulled down by the yen's rise against major currencies. A stronger yen makes Japanese goods less competitive overseas and erodes repatriated revenues.
On currency markets at 3 pm (0600 GMT), the dollar traded at 104.29-30 yen, compared with 105.36-40 yen at 5 pm on December 30.
The euro was quoted at 141.61-64 yen, down sharply from 144.96-98 yen and at 1.3578-3582 dollars, down from 1.3757-3758 dollars.
--SPA 11:27 LOCAL TIME 08:27 GMT
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