Asian markets were lower on Friday, as concerns over Ukraine continued to weigh on sentiment, while Japanese stocks moved higher after the release of strong inflation data for Tokyo.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.7% and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.6% after tensions in Ukraine came to the fore again. Ukrainian forces moved in on a pro-Russian stronghold on Thursday, killing several militants at a roadside checkpoint. Flare ups in the continuing Ukraine situation have rattled markets in recent weeks.

In other markets, the Shanghai Composite was 0.2% lower, Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.5%, while Australia's market was closed for a public holiday.

The Nikkei bucked the regional declines after data showed that the March consumer-price index for the Tokyo metropolitan area rose by a preliminary 2.7% on-year—the largest gain since 1992. Reversing deflation is a long-term goal of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tokyo was also supported by a slightly weaker yen. After the U.S. dollar lost 0.2% against the Japanese currency overnight, it picked up to ¥102.43 compared with ¥102.33 late Thursday in New York.

At the end of a week shortened in a number of markets by the Easter holidays, the best performer was Australia which had gained 1.4% since the end of last week. Japanese stocks were down 0.1% week-to-date and the Shanghai Composite Index was 2.2% lower.

With no major headline news, investors were left digesting a broad range of earnings reports from across the region.

In Hong Kong, Bank of China stock lost 0.3%, as the bank's first quarter net profit rose 14% year-over-year failed to assuage concerns over asset quality in the banking sector.

In Japan, shares in Japan Tobacco rose by 1.1% after the company reported that its revenue rose by 21.1% in the January to March quarter, which helped offset a corporate tax driven fall in its net profit. Camera-maker Canon Inc. lost 0.4% after a strong run up over the past month, after solid demand for printers and copiers led to better-than-expected first quarter results.

In Seoul, Hyundai Motor Company lost 2.5% after the firm reported a third consecutive quarterly decline in profit margins.

Write to Daniel Inman at