TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks fell Wednesday morning, slipping below the key 20,000 level as global security concerns spiked after North Korea said it had successfully tested its first rocket capable of striking the United States.
Washington confirmed Tuesday that Pyongyang's latest rocket test was of an intercontinental ballistic missile, ratcheting up pressure in an already tense crisis on the Korean peninsula.
It was the latest provocation by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un who is determined to develop a nuclear weapons programme he says is needed to ward off invasion.
"With risk aversion lingering, headline risk... will dominate (the dollar-yen) flow as we head towards Friday's G20 summit keeping topside risk in check," Stephen Innes, senior forex trader at Oanda, said in a commentary.
The Nikkei 225 fell 0.52 percent, or 103.56 points, to 19,928.79 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.25 percent, or 4.02 points, at 1,605.68.
Traders were given few leads with European markets slightly down and Wall Street closed for the US Independence Day holiday.
The dollar fetched 112.98 yen in Asia, down from 113.28 yen in New York on Tuesday.
SoftBank was down 0.97 percent at 8,899 yen while Panasonic fell 0.16 percent to 1,498.5 yen.
Toyota rose 0.66 percent to 6,100 yen after news that June vehicle sales in China rose 10 percent on-year.