But it is unclear what can soothe investors. Sellers drove the Nikkei down 9.4 percent, its biggest one-day percentage fall since the crash of October 1987.
Markets in Tokyo and Hong Kong plummeted 5 percent to 7 percent, and Jakarta tumbled 9 percent, after another gloomy session on Wall Street that saw the Dow Jones industrial average notch its biggest five-day points fall ever.
European markets were off the day's lows, with the FTSE 100 falling over 2.5 percent, Germany's DAX down more than 4.4 percent, the French CAC 40 falling 3.6 percent.
British banks HBOS surged 55 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland jumped 32 percent after heavy recent losses.
At 1038 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 benchmark was still down 3.7 percent at 966.44 points after trading nearly 8 percent lower early in the day.
U.S. stock index futures pointed to another day of big slides on Wall Street but were also off lows earlier in the session.
"I think for a few more days we are in a Mark Twain situation where we are more worried about the return of our money than the return on our money," Guy Monson, Managing Partner & CIO at Sarasin & Partners, told "Squawk Box Europe."
About the UK government's plan, "what we're really looking at is a giant backstop to the entire banking system," Monson said, adding that now "we have a banking system which is run directly by state guarantee".