TOKYO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell to a near three-week low on Thursday as weakness on Wall Street and a stronger yen hurt sentiment, but Takata Corp surged 16 percent on news that it could settle U.S. criminal charges over defective air bags.
The Nikkei dropped 1.3 percent to 19,145.14 points, the lowest closing price since Dec. 9. Trading in the Japanese market for 2016 ends on Friday.
The index looked set to end the year with a gain of about 0.6 percent after a more than 16 percent rally in the fourth quarter.
Toshiba Corp continued to worry investors, diving 17 percent after rating agencies cut the company's credit ratings.
Air bag maker Takata soared 16 percent after a source told Reuters that it could settle criminal charges with the U.S. Department of Justice before the Obama administration leaves office next month.
The broader Topix declined 1.2 percent to 1,518.39 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 1.2 percent to 13,622.00. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)