The benchmark Nikkei stock average lost over 420 points at one point on Monday morning amid growing concerns over a global economic slowdown caused by the spreading coronavirus outbreak.
The Nikkei average of 225 selected issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange nose-dived to 22,775.92, down 429.26 points from Friday's closing, in minutes after the opening bell.
In the wake of the Chinese government's announcement that the death toll from the virus outbreak topped 360, investors rushed to discharge stocks and other risk assets, bracing for a prolonged slump in the Chinese economy and its adverse effects on Japan and other economies, brokers said.
But the Nikkei recouped part of the early loss to end the morning session down 223.19 points, or 0.96 pct, at 22,981.99, as the Shanghai market's loss fell within expectations, they added.
The dollar stood at 108.48-48 yen at noon, down from 109.03-04 yen at 5 p.m. Friday.