The dollar rose slightly after shedding around one percent against the yen in New York, while expectations that the Federal Reserve will start to pull back on its monetary easing also pushed the US unit up further against its Australian counterpart.
Tokyo fell 0.85 percent, or 110.85 points, to 12,904.02, extending an almost four percent decline on Wednesday due to disappointment at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's latest plan to boost the economy.
Sydney shed 1.12 percent, or 54.0 points, to end at 4,781.2, while Hong Kong lost 1.05 percent, or 230.81 points, to close at 21,838.43. Shanghai was down 1.27 percent, or 28.82 points, at 2,242.11.
Seoul and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.
Regional investors took their bets off the table after payroll firm ADP reported that the US private sector added 135,000 jobs in May, less than the forecast 157,000.
That came as the Fed's closely watched Beige Book report on US economic conditions said growth continues to be "modest to moderate", suggesting steady but still slow expansion.
Wednesday's news added to previous data showing a widening of the US trade deficit and a surprise shrinkage of manufacturing activity.
US dealers reacted to the news by running for the sidelines, sending the dollar tumbling to as low as 99 yen while equities also suffered.
On Wall Street the Dow tumbled 1.43 percent to end below 15,000 for the first time in a month, while the S&P 500 shed 1.38 percent and the Nasdaq was 1.27 percent lower.
The jobs figures will focus minds more on Friday's non-farm payrolls data, which will provide a better clue to the next move from the Fed. Many economists tip an end to its huge bond-buying, or quantitative easing, scheme.
Adding to the downbeat sentiment, the Eurostat statistics agency said the eurozone economy shrank 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, while it contracted 1.1 percent compared with a year earlier.
Separate data showed that eurozone business activity continued to deteriorate in May but at a slower pace.
In afternoon Asian trade the dollar ticked up slightly, buying 99.22 yen compared with 99.06 yen in New York late Wednesday. The euro was at $1.3125 and 130.22 yen, against $1.3091 and 129.65 yen.
The Australian dollar, which last month fell below parity with the greenback for the first time in a year, continued its downtrend, sitting at US$0.9492 compared with US$0.9506.
"It may take a minimum of several weeks for the markets to settle down to an acceptable level -- and that assumes favourable external factors, such as a stable dollar-yen and a reliable US economic recovery," said Naoki Fujiwara, fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July, added 56 cents to $94.30 a barrel in the afternoon. Brent North Sea crude for July gained 43 cents to $103.47.
Gold was at $1,393.80 by 0800 GMT from $1,397.61 late Wednesday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei fell 1.05 percent, or 85.77 points, to 8,096.14.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fell 1.83 percent to Tw$107.5 while HTC was 1.4 percent lower at Tw$281.0.
-- Manila closed 0.78 percent higher, adding 51.12 points to 6,609.01.
Metropolitan Bank rose 1.10 percent to 119 pesos, SM Investments added 1.28 percent to 1,030 pesos and Philippine Long Distance Telephone was up 1.04 percent at 2,920 pesos.
-- Wellington was flat, edging up 1.75 points, to 4,455.33.