Tokyo's Nikkei 225 average closed at a four-week low after tumbling more than 3.2 percent at one point, with exporters battered by a stronger yen and rising concerns about the U.S. economy that sent Wall Street sliding. Broad selling centered on exporters such as Canon and Sony, although losses were trimmed slightly by short-covering and isolated pockets of strength such as Yahoo Japan
South Korea's KOSPI finished 3.3 percent lower, its lowest close in more than a month, led by exporters such as Kia Motors on fresh worries that a U.S. recession would hurt demand in South Korea's No. 2 export market.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index shed 1.9 percent, led down by U.S.-exposed firms such as Westfield Group and top miners on fresh worries that the U.S. housing slump was infecting the wider economy.
Singapore's Straits Times Index finished down 2.8 percent, led by losses in Singapore Telecommunications and banks.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was 3.7 percent lower and China plays dropped as sharp declines in global equities prompted investors to book profits in recent gainers such as oil refiner Sinopec. But recent high flyer PetroChina, the country's top oil producer, reversed earlier losses to move into positive territory.
Chinese stocks fell because of weakness in global equity markets and fears of tighter monetary policy, but they came well off intraday lows, showing some investors think the bull run will not
pause for long.