Tokyo equities tumbled on Tuesday, weighed down by a strong yen, while most other Asian markets fell as weak U.S. factory data raised concerns that the effects of fiscal tightening have started to hurt the world's largest economy.
The Nikkei pared earlier steep losses to close down 1 percent, Shanghai shares hit a fresh low for 2013 and Seoul's Kospi fell well-below the 2,000 level. Australia's S&P ASX 200, however bucked regional weakness to close up 0.4 percent.
A raft of central bank meetings this week added to a cautious tone in regional markets. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left rates on hold, as expected on Tuesday, while the Bank of Japan begins a two-day policy review on Wednesday and the European Central Bank meets on Thursday.
(Read More: Will Japan's Central Bank Deliver or Disappoint?)
"Whatever asset class, this is a huge week, and a move away from correlated markets could well be on the cards," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets, wrote in a note.