Elsewhere, the Kospi pulled back by 0.91 percent to end at 2,282.79 as major technology names dragged the index lower. Samsung Electronics fell 3.2 percent and SK Hynix declined 3.72 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 gave up early gains, edging down 0.31 percent to 6,278.40. Energy led losses, losing 1.75 percent, while the heavily weighted financials sector recorded slim gains.
In its monetary policy statement, the Reserve Bank of Australia said growth was likely to come in above 3 percent in 2018 and 2019. It also noted that inflation "is likely to be a bit lower in the near term."
Chinese equities finished higher, bucking the overall downward trend in the region. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.04 percent higher at 2,795.44. The smaller Shenzhen Composite gained 0.69 percent for the day and the blue-chip CSI 300 rose 0.22 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index pulled back by 0.9 percent by 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN, with services, materials and energy weighing on the benchmark before the market close.
MSCI's index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan declined 1.02 percent in Asia afternoon trade.
That followed the mixed session seen stateside on Thursday. Major U.S. indexes traded flat for most of the day before slipping late in the session as investors focused on this quarter's strong earnings. Nearly 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results so far.
Trade concerns have also been in the spotlight, with China announcing earlier this week that it would retaliate against recent U.S. tariffs. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Wednesday a 25 percent tariff on $16 billion in U.S. goods, a move that came after the U.S. Trade Representative's office said duties on $16 billion in Chinese imports would take effect on Aug. 23.
"So far, there is still no sign of a return to negotiation and the likelihood is that it won't happen until after the U.S. midterms," said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.
Despite broader trade jitters, some analysts are optimistic about the global picture.
"Clearly trade is creating some angst in the emerging markets, but so is Fed policy. So anything that suggests that maybe the U.S. economy ... just slows down a little bit, might get the Fed to maybe not tighten in December and I think emerging markets would like that," Jack McIntyre, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."