The Nikkei share average tumbled 3.08% to 28,608.59, its lowest closing level since March 24, while the broader Topix lost 2.37% to 1,905.92. Both marked their biggest fall since Feb. 26, while the Nikkei closed below its 100-day moving average.
Wall Street closed lower on Monday as inflation concerns drove investors away from market-leading growth stocks in favour of cyclicals.
The prolonged pandemic added to the negative sentiment, with calls for expanding the state of emergency, which covers major prefectures such as Tokyo and Osaka.
Some prefectural governors called for stronger emergency measures to be put in place nationwide, the Kyodo news agency reported.
“Atmosphere in the market is bad,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.
“Even domestic cyclical shares, which should be bought on the day like today, were being sold. Investors could not find any reasons to buy Japanese stocks at a time when the pandemic in Japan shows little signs for slowing down.”
Leading tech shares fell, with SoftBank Group tumbling 6.51%.
Among hot chip-related shares, Advantest lost 5.5% while Sumco shed 5.4%
Panasonic lost 5.8% after its earnings fell short of expectations.
Mothers start-up shares index lost 3.46% to hit its lowest close since late August.
About 90% of shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board declined while only 7% of them rose.
Among gainers, Shionogi & Co inched up 1.2% after a local media report that said the drug maker may start supplying COVID-19 vaccines later this year.
Ajinomoto rose 3.8% after its earnings beat analysts estimates and announced share buy-back. (Reporting by Junko Fujita, additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich)