The Tokyo benchmark stock index plunged on Tuesday on concerns that higher crude-oil prices could hurt corporate earnings. The Nikkei Average lost nearly 1,000 points at one stage.
The index ended the day at 27,822, down 622 points or almost 2.2 percent from Monday's close. Investors unloaded shares almost across the board. The exception was the energy sector.
The Nikkei 225 has ended lower for seven straight trading days, the longest losing streak in two years and five months. Tuesday was also the first time in more than a month for it to finish below the 28,000 mark.
Analysts say they expect the volatility to continue for some time, due to a number of factors contributing to the risk-averse mood.
They include a possible US default and a gloomy outlook for the Chinese economy stemming from financial problems surrounding real-estate giant Evergrande Group.