Most Asian markets were in negative territory on 15 September following a subdued overnight session on Wall Street.
The region's biggest stock market, the Nikkei 225, was down by 1.2% at 16,414.73 points in early trading.
This was despite a Reuters poll, which tracks the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey, revealing that business confidence among Japanese manufacturers rose for the first time in three months in August.
The business sentiment index for manufacturers rose to 5 from 1 in the previous month, as confidence rebounded among carmakers and electronics manufacturers.
However, the services sector index fell to 14 in August from 18 in July — the lowest reading since 2013 — as bad weather affected sentiment among retailers.
Trading volumes were light across Asia with markets in mainland China and South Korea closed for holidays.
Investors took cues from a mixed trading session on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 share averages retreated 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.
Bank of England meeting
Traders are awaiting the Bank of England's September monetary policy meeting, in which the central bank is expected to maintain rates at a historic low of 0.25%.
Figures released on 14 September showed there was little to no Brexit impact on the UK jobs market, with the unemployment rate little changed at 4.9% in the three months to July period.
"Today's figures show a welcome rise in employment, but the slowdown in wage growth is cause for concern — real wages are only rising because of low inflation," said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady.
"Theresa May says she wants an economy that works for everyone. That means a real effort to drive up pay.
"We need investment now to create more decent, well-paid jobs, and an end to the public sector pay cap. And the government should stick by its promise to give the lowest paid a pay rise, with increases in the national living wage."
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down by 0.1% at 5,220.70 points after data showed that the country's unemployment rate edged down to 5.6% in August from 5.7% in the preceding month.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng advanced 0.6% to 23,319.87.