Shares initially gained following falls in the yen sparked by record Japanese unemployment data. However, unwinding of corporate cross-shareholdings later in the day took the index more than 2 per cent lower. The Nikkei closed at 13,921.06, down 300.69 points.
New official data revealed that Japan's jobless rate hit 4.4 per cent in January. The figures sent the dollar back over the 120 yen barrier.