Japanese stocks sold off on Wednesday, weighed by a stronger yen and after an apparent North Korea missile test that reports said failed.
Reuters, citing Yonhap news agency, reported the isolated nation in the Korean peninsula may have conducted a missile launch with a U.S. military spokesman adding that "a missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch."
The benchmark Nikkei 225 tumbled down 2.13 percent or 414.5 points at 19,041.38 while the Topix index dropped 2.12 percent or 33.2 points to 1,530.2. The yen traded at 111.4 to the dollar, weakening from an earlier session high of 111.41, but relatively stronger than levels above 113.00 reached in the previous week.
Analysts reckoned the sell-off on the Nikkei was also spurred with the overhang from a stronger yen.
"There is a growing concern that there could be further depreciation movers for the USD, which could see further yen cross strength," Gavin Perry, managing director at Parry International Trading told CNBC.
Perry explained that the concerns over the dollar are due to the "Fed's dovish comments at the recent rate hike, indicating they are less bullish on U.S. growth and the assumed delay in the Trump fiscal reform package which was expected to boost U.S. growth."
South Korean defense stocks traded mixed, but beat the broader benchmark earlier following the North Korea report. Shares of Firstec rose 1.21 percent, Speco fell 0.4 percent and Victek advanced slipped 1.88 percent.