Tokyo's Nikkei dropped as much as 14 percentbefore paring losses as concerns grew about the threat of radiation leaking from damaged nuclear reactors.
European shares closed at a three-month low Monday.
EU energy minsters, nuclear plant operators and builders and regulators are holding a special meeting Tuesday on the crisis in Japan to discuss its consequences.
The crisis at the quake-hit Fukushima complex in Japan has hit the nuclear sector, with Switzerland putting approvals for nuclear power plants on hold and German politicians casting doubt on the future of nuclear power stations in the country.
European finance ministers meet in Brussels Tuesday, while G8 foreign ministers meet in Paris to discuss ways to coordinate help for Japan as well as a response to the violence in Libya.
NATO receives a range of plans to deal with the crisis in Libya following last week's defense ministers meeting.
French inflation data for February as well as Germany's March ZEW index of economic sentiment are among macroeconomic data due Tuesday. The ZEW index will provide insight into the economic outlook for the euro zone's biggest economy.
The International Energy Agency's oil market report for March will be closely watched as oil prices continue to react to global events.