AAP, with a staff reporter
Tokyo stocks decreased at the open amid ongoing uncertainty around the ramifications of the Cypriot bailout in the eurzone.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.21 per cent to 12,371.34 at the open.
The fall came shortly after the Bank of Japan released a quarterly business sentiment survey that showed a modest improvement.
The Tankan survey showed confidence among big Japanese manufacturers improved in the first quarter.
The figures, which marked a modest uptick in confidence, showed large manufacturers' sentiment improve to -8 between January and March, from -12 three months earlier.
New investment money will start flowing into stocks from Monday as a new fiscal year starts, SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi said.
"But turmoil in the eurozone regarding the Cyprus bank fallout, as well as geopolitical stress in the Korean peninsula still warrant keen attention," he added.
The US dollar was at 94.30 yen in early Asian trade against 94.20 yen in calm Easter weekend trade on Friday afternoon in New York.
The euro bought $US1.2806 and 120.82 yen compared with $US1.2818 and 120.78 yen.
At the Friday close the Nikkei gained 0.5 per cent to 12,397.91 and the Chinese Shanghai Composite advanced 0.19 per cent to 2,240.62, while the South Korean KOSPI Composite advanced 0.57 per cent.
Hong Kong is closed for the Easter break.