The Nikkei 225 fell 1.53 per cent, or 437.79 points, to 28,197.42, while the broader Topix index lost 1.14 per cent, or 21.22 points, to 1,838.85.
Profit-taking dominated the Japanese market after key US indexes lost more than two per cent following mixed earnings from large companies.
“But today’s decline can still be seen as a temporary adjustment following recent gains,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.
“Some investors were even buying on dips, which sustained today’s bottom,” Horiuchi told AFP.
He added that the Tokyo market has shifted its focus to the release of earnings by major Japanese companies starting this week.
The dollar fetched 104.31 yen in Asian afternoon trade, higher than 104.13 yen in New York after the US Federal Reserve maintained ultra-loose interest rates.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell cautioned that the US economic outlook was “highly uncertain” in light of surging Covid-19 cases.
Toyota reclaimed the title of the world’s top-selling auto maker in 2020 according to data released by the firm Thursday. It dropped 1.74 per cent to 7,397 yen on profit-taking.
Honda fell 1.56 per cent to 2,793 yen but Nissan gained 1.82 per cent to 552 yen.
Sony dropped 2.28 per cent to 10,035 yen with Nintendo down 1.51 per cent at 61,660 yen.
Biotech firm JCR Pharmaceuticals, which last month agreed with AstraZeneca to produce its vaccine in Japan, rallied 13.6 per cent to 3,115 yen after the top government spokesman said at least 90 million doses of that vaccine will be produced domestically.