Japanese stocks dropped sharply at the open, shedding 2.5 per cent in the first eight minutes of trading as global markets reacted to a banking sector sell-off in the US.
The US regional bank rout was triggered by the collapse of technology-focused lender Silicon Valley Bank.
Futures in Hong Kong also pointed lower, with contracts for the Hang Seng index down 0.4 per cent.
South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.4 per cent 12 minutes after the opening bell.
The dollar declined 0.1 per cent against a basket of peers, while China’s renminbi rose 0.8 per cent to trade at Rmb6.846 per dollar.