Japanese stocks lost ground in extremely thin trading on Monday as investors awaited earnings results this week from Sony, Honda and other major companies.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average ended down 63.11 points, or 0.81% to 7,682.14 after flitting in and out of positive territory throughout the day. The broader Topix index fell 0.68% to 768.28.
In New Zealand, the market closed flat, up less than one point to 2705 on turnover of $41 million.
Top stocks were mixed. Telecom was down 1 cent to $2.52, while Contact Energy gained 1c to $6.67 and Fletcher Building rose 4c to $5.59.
Markets in Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Trading in Australia and India was also closed due to national holidays, making activity thin.