Nikkei skids 2.1%
Japan's benchmark index widened its losses after dollar-yen rose to a session low of 97.56 following comments from Japanese ministers that downplayed the idea of corporate tax cuts. Earlier this week, the Nikkei newspaper reported that Tokyo may be considering cutting corporate tax rates to offset the impact of a consumption sales tax hike.
The stronger Japanese yen weighed on manufacturers, pushing the Nikkei off the previous day's one-week high. Electronic component maker Taiyo Yuden declined over 4 percent while Panasonic and Suzuki Motor lost over 3 percent each.
(Read more: Japan's foreign bond binge hits three-year high)
Camera maker Nikon bucked the trend to rally 2 percent on reports that it is planning to develop stem cell technologies with the Riken research institute.
Social gaming giant Gree surged nearly 13 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Shanghai below 2,100
China's benchmark stock index swung between gains and losses in choppy trade after breaking a four-day winning streak in the previous session.
Drugmakers fell after the official Xinhua news agency reported that Beijing is intensifying its bribery investigation in the sector. Beijing Tiantan Bio skidded over 5 percent while Shenzhen Neptunus and Shandong Lukang lost over 2 percent each.
Railway stocks were in focus with Daqin Railway leading gains by 7.8 percent on media reports that Beijing plans to announce investment plans for the industry by the end of 2013.