The Nikkei stock index snapped a five-day winning streak Tuesday closing 0.23 percent lower as investors looked to cash in gains after the long weekend and ahead of a key U.S. Federal Reserve Policy meeting kicking off later in the day. The Nikkei 225 index lost 36.76 points at 15,911.53, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares ended 0.22 percent, or 2.86 points lower at 1,310.86.
Traders here pointed to U.S. industrial production dropping unexpectedly in August for the first time since January, with the reading for the period down 0.1 percent from a month earlier, compared to median economists' expectations for a 0.3 percent gain.
Manufacturing production in particular was a falling component that slumped 0.4 percent, which analysts here said gave some concern for the automobile sector.
Falling industrial production in China to 6.9 percent in August, following sharp gains in previous months, also piqued the interest of brokers here, although the news was largely shrugged off, they said.
But in general brokers here said that markets being closed here on Monday for a national holiday and the index following a mixed picture from Wall Street overnight, coupled with news expected from the Fed, ensured the market closed lower.
"The market is taking a break today after rising continuously," said Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities Co. "The mood is to hold back ahead of the Fed meeting."
The Fed will likely announce at the end of its key policy meeting that it will continue to keep interest rates low at least until mid-1015. After ending its huge stimulus program, the central bank is widely expected to further scale down its monetary easing program to effective zero by the end of October.
The halt in the yen's depreciation at around the 107-yen line also made investors think twice about chasing assets higher, and the mood among market players was markedly more muted Tuesday.
Real estate issue comprised the worst performing sector, with Mitsui Fudosan losing 1.9 percent to 3,361 yen and Tokyu Fudosan dropping 2.3 percent to 770 yen.
Among exporters, Mitsubishi Motors reversed 1 percent to 1,218. 0 yen, on reports of a 650 million U.S. dollar project to build a new car plant in Indonesia and Pioneer dropped 1.23 percent to 319 yen, after local reports said the firm plans to sell its DJ equipment business to U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Financial issues also weighed on the market Tuesday, with Sumitomo Mitsui dropping 1.3 percent to 4,364 yen, while top- lender Mitsubishi UFJ retreated 1.2 percent to 614 yen.
Tokyo Dome was also among the day's notable decliners, tumbling 3.6 percent to 484 yen, following the baseball stadium operator reporting at the end of last year that its full-year net income will drop 38 percent to 5 billion yen and its half year profit for the six months to July has fallen 30 percent.
SoftBank, bucked the downward trend however, climbing 3.5 percent to 8,657 yen, as Alibaba is offering its shares higher than initially expected at 66 to 68 U.S. dollars each. SoftBank is Alibaba's biggest stakeholder.
Trading volume on Tuesday dropped to 1.86 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Friday's volume of 2.74 billion shares, with advancing issues outnumbering declining ones by 878 to 802.