Tokyo stocks opened 0.55 percent lower on Wednesday, with investors jittery over the lack of progress on US negotiations on a budget plan to avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff."
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 52.09 points at 9,380.37 at the start.
The benchmark Nikkei is likely to weaken Wednesday following a modest sell-off on Wall Street and on a stronger yen, analysts said.
"The weakening dollar is the key component today, as it continues to edge down against the yen as US fiscal cliff negotiations appear to be deadlocked without any clear signs of hope," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.11 percent at 12,951.78 on Tuesday as Washington wrangled over a budget plan that would avoid a programme of tax hikes and spending cuts widely expected to tip the economy into recession if they take effect.
The euro bought $1.3096 and 107.17 yen in early Asian trade, little changed from New York late Tuesday.
The dollar eased to 81.81 yen from 81.88 yen in US trade.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --