HONG KONG -- Japanese stocks fell for the fifth day in a row, as the unsettled outlook over higher interest rates in the U.S. combined with domestic political concerns to cap investor enthusiasm for stocks, now 21% off their high reached last month.

The key

Nikkei 225

index fell 67.28 points, or 0.4%, to 16,318.73, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, fell 2.65, to 1519.84. The

Jasdaq

small-cap index lost 3.08 or 3.8%, to 78.19 while the Nikkei

over-the-counter

index shed 48.70, or 2.8%, to 1696.91.

Helping to drive stocks lower were reports that the opposition could soon bring a

no-confidence vote

in the government of

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori,

over Mori's remarks that Japan is "a divine nation centering on the emperor." Mori's standing in public opinion polls remains low since making the remarks.

NTT Data Corp.

plunged 150,000 yen, or 12.9% to 1.01 million, after it reported late Monday that it had lost 18.1 billion yen in the year ended March 31. The losses stemmed largely from a 64 billion yen write-off to make good on unfunded pension liabilities, a common problem in corporate Japan.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

fell 280 yen or 2.7% to 10,000, while

Hitachi

(HIT)

lost 35, or 2.8% to 1235.

Against this trend,

Fujitsu

(FJTSY)

rose 45 or 1.5% to 3000 on a report that it plans to spend $1.4 billion on a new Japanese chip plant with

Advanced Micro Devices.

(AMD) - Get Report

NTT Data's parent,

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone

(NTT)

rose 30,000 to 1.23 million.

Internet investor

Softbank

fell 1200 or 7.2% to 15,400.

In Hong Kong, the

Hang Seng

index rose after being in negative territory for the most of the day, gaining 116.45 points, or 0.8% to 14,257.18 in light trading worth just HK$9.2 billion ($1.2 billion). Index heavyweight

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

rose HK$1.45, or 2.9% to 50.25. Conglomerate

Hutchison Whampoa

(HUWHY)

fell 1.25 or 1.4% to 90.50, while banking group

HSBC

(HBC)

rose 50 to 83.75.

Intel Corp.

(INTC) - Get Report

is reportedly forming a strategic partnership with local phone giant

Cable & Wireless HKT,

(HKT)

which fell 0.10 to 17.95. HKT is the takeover target of local Internet investor

Pacific Century CyberWorks,

which also fell today, losing 0.05 to 14.40. According to the report on the local website, Quamnet, Intel will develop set-top boxes for HKT's multimedia customers.

South Korea's

Kospi

index fell 11.85 points, or 1.7%, to 679.76, while Taiwan's

TWSE

index lost 136.56 points, or 1.6%, to 8671.01.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

(TSM) - Get Report

fell NT$5.00, or 3.2%, to 153.00. Korea's

Pohang Iron & Steel

(PKX) - Get Report

fell 500 won, or 0.6%, to 91,000.

The dollar saw early gains against the yen more than erased, on concerns that further falls in stock prices in the U.S. could lead to more dollar selling in the weeks to come. The dollar recently bought 106.66 yen.