The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.84 percent, or 187.00 points, to 22,009.89 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.70 percent, or 12.08 points, at 1,704.05.
“Sales are seen dominating after US trading in after hours saw declines following media reports that President Trump is nearing the release of an additional list of Chinese exports to the US subject to new US tariffs,” SBI Securities said in a commentary.
The US late Tuesday announced it was starting the process to slap 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese export goods as soon as September, escalating the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
In Asia, the dollar was quoted at 110.93 yen, against 110.26 yen in New York late Tuesday.
In Tokyo, exporters and China-related shares were lower, with electronic parts maker Rohm dropping 4.82 percent to 4,821 yen and construction machinery maker Komatsu trading down 2.32 percent at 3,104 yen.
Market heavyweight Fast Retailing, Uniqlo casual wear operator, was also lower, trading down 0.84 percent at 48,150 yen.
In New York, the Dow ended up 0.6 percent at 24,919.66. DM