Tokyo, Japan (BBN)-Tokyo shares fell sharply in early trading on Tuesday, following the trends set in Europe and the US.
The Nikkei 225 was down 4.6 per cent at 16,226.3 by midday, reports BBC.
Earlier, US and European shares were pulled down by big falls among banking and technology stocks.
Deutsche Bank led the fallers, dropping 9.5 per cent.
The Dow Jones dropped 1.1 per cent, the FTSE 100 in London fell 2.7 per cent and the Athens stock exchange dropped to a 25-year low.
The banks were the biggest fallers in Tokyo, with Mitsubishi UFJ dropping 7.2 per cent, Sumitomo Mitsui down 6.6 per cent and Mizuho Financial Group losing 5.3 per cent.
The strengthening yen also hit big exporters, with the currency up 0.8 per cent against the dollar.
Toyota dropped 4.5 per cent, Honda lost 5.3 per cent and Nissan fell 5.1 per cent.
‘STRUGGLING WHAT TO BUY’
The Nikkei 225 is down more than 20 per cent from its peak levels, reached last June.
“When the strong yen is a concern, you would buy domestic-demand sensitive stocks like banks, but we can’t buy them now so we are really struggling what to buy on a day like this,” said Masashi Oda, senior investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
Meanwhile, in Australia the ASX index was down 105.1 points, or 2.1 per cent, at 4,917.0.
There was little trading elsewhere in Asia, with China’s mainland markets shut all week for Lunar New Year celebrations.
Hong Kong and South Korea are both closed for three days.
Oil prices have been continuing their falls, with Brent crude down another 2.7 per cent at $33.13 a barrel.