Asia traded mixed on Thursday amid lingering uncertainty over key central bank policy meetings next week, while markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea were closed for public holidays.
Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 209.23 points, or 1.26 percent, to 16,405.01, while the Topix index fell 13.63 points, or 1.04 percent, to 1,301.11 as stocks came under pressure from a relatively stronger yen and growing uncertainty over the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) monetary policy meeting due next week.
"Market sentiment is fragile ahead of the BOJ's comprehensive policy review," said analysts at Singapore's DBS Bank in a note, adding a high degree of uncertainty over what the central bank would do at its meeting fueled volatility in the market.
The DBS analysts added there is "a good chance that the BOJ will revise the composition of the QQE program, increase the flexibility in the scale/category of asset purchases, and delete the timeline for achieving the 2 percent inflation target."
Japanese banking and finance shares fell amid the uncertainty surrounding the BOJ, with Mitsubishi UFJ closing down 1.93 percent, SMFG off 1.88 percent, Mizuho down 1.62 percent and Nomura Holdings off by 2.16 percent.
Australia's ASX 200 closed up 12.16 points, or 0.23 percent, at 5,239.86, erasing losses of near 0.3 percent seen in early trade. The energy sector, however, finished down 1.21 percent, with major oil plays selling off.
The session in Asia followed a mixed finish in the U.S. on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down 31.98 points, or 0.18 percent, at 18,034.77. The S&P 500 index slipped 1.25 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 2,125.77, while the Nasdaq gained 18.52 points, or 0.36 percent, to 5,173.77.
"Mental preparations for another onslaught of selling bonds and equities offshore were put on the backburner, with markets becalmed overnight," said David de Garis, a senior economist at the National Australia Bank (NAB), in an early morning note.