The Nikkei stock index tumbled 2.03 percent Tuesday as investors sought to lock away gains following the market's recent rise, and a relatively firm yen ensured that export-related issues were not an attractive proposition.
The Nikkei 225 index fell 306.95 points to close at 14,804.28, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues lost 1. 55 percent, or 18.98 points, to end the day at 1,205.36.
Marker players here said that following the market's near 4 percent surge on Monday, selling was pervasive from the get go as investors looked to lock in profits.
Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager of equity research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., noted that even though U.S. stocks continued to rise overnight, selling took place Tuesday due to the Nikkei's gain of 578 points a day earlier.
Other analysts said that the recent volatility on the market could continue for awhile, although things may calm down following the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's next policy meeting.
"October is typically a volatile month for the market, and thus far it hasn't disappointed. Even so, yesterday's surge was beyond most expectations. The volatility is likely to continue for a while, at least until the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting on Oct. 28-29," said Chibagin Asset Management general manager Yoshihiro Okumura.
Losses were extended in the afternoon session as bourses in Hong Kong and Shanghai lost ground following the Chinese government saying its economy grew at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis, leading to analysts speculating about the possible introduction of more stimulus measures, said Hiroaki Hiwada, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co.
The latest official data showed that China's gross domestic product grew 7.3 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, compared to a 7.5-percent increase in the previous quarter.
But while the figure came in ahead of median economists' forecasts for 7.2 percent growth, it still marked the slowest rate of growth since March 2009, economists highlighted.
"Investors became concerned about how European and U.S. markets would react to the China's economic slowdown," Hiwada said.
With the U.S. dollar changing hands at 106.29 yen from 106.92 yen in New York, some export-related issues came under pressure Tuesday, as they rely on a weaker yen to boost their competitiveness is overseas markets and the profits made there when repatriated.
Toyota Motor skidded down 1.6 percent to 5,931 yen and smaller rival Honda Motor Co. reversed 1.5 percent to 3,315. Nissan Motor, for its part, fell 2.2 percent to close at 935 yen.
Consumer electronics behemoth Sony Corp. dropped 1.5 percent to 1,847 yen, and component and data storage device maker TDK dropped 3.5 percent to close the day at 5,520 yen.
Japan Steel Works was one of the market's most notable decliners, tumbling 6.5 percent to 357 yen, marking its lowest close since 2005, following the firm saying it will likely make a loss of 16 billion yen, owing to problems over components for wind turbines.
Takata plummeted 23 percent to 1,686 yen, following its faulty parts, predominantly airbags, being connected to global vehicle recalls by Honda, Toyota, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Mazda Motor Corp.
Toyota issued an advisory recently for its passengers not to sit in the front of its U.S. cars, after reports have emerged about metal shrapnel being launched from faulty air bags.
But Fujifilm Holdings marked one bright spot on the market, edging up 0.2 percent to 3,398 yen, following news the company plans to increase production of the anti-influenza drug Aviga for use by Ebola-infected patients, after an initial trial showed some positive results.
Trading volume on Tuesday dropped to 2.25 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, down from Monday's volume of 2.37 billion shares, with declining issues beating advancing ones by 1, 574 to 209.