Asian stock markets advanced Monday, led by gains in Japanese shares on speculation that Bank of Japan (BOJ) could get a new governor, who is known to be in favor of aggressive monetary easing.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei climbed 2.43 percent or 276.58 points to 11,662.52, Chinese Shanghai Composite advanced 0.58 percent or 13.46 points to 2,327.63 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.26 percent or 59.09 points to 22,841.53, while India’s BSE Sensex gained 0.26 percent and South Korea's KOSPI Composite slipped 0.46 percent.

Japanese shares rallied after media reports suggested that the Japanese government is likely to nominate Haruhiko Kuroda, present governor for Asia Development Bank and an aggressive advocate of monetary easing policy, as the next BOJ governor.

"The news of Kuroda (as BOJ nominee) appears to be taken positively by the market, but I think signs of progress towards TPP are vital as it shows Abe is taking leadership in pushing structural reforms, with the TPP being a vital tool to boosting growth," Tetsuro Ii, the chief executive of Commons Asset Management, told Reuters.

However, the upward move was limited after a report showed that Chinese factory activity grew at a slower rate in February. The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a measure of the nation-wide manufacturing, declined to a four-month low of 50.4 in February from January's final reading of 52.3.

Meanwhile, market participants await the final outcome of the Italian elections as the results are set to have a major impact on euro zone's financial recovery efforts. Opinion polls have suggested the centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani could secure a narrow victory.

Japanese shares surged, led by gains from export firms and financial institutions. Exporters gained as the yen declined against its major counterparts on BOJ Chief Speculation.  Advantest Corp.  surged 3.82 percent and Citizen Holdings Co Ltd. gained 3.75 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp. rose 1.37 percent.

Among the financial institutions, Shinsei Bank Ltd. gained 2.99 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. advanced 1.62 percent.

In Hong Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. declined 2.10 percent and Sino Land Co Ltd. fell 0.74 percent while Bank of Communications Co Ltd. gained 1.50 percent.

In Seoul, Hyundai Motor Co. plunged 2.05 percent and Kia Motor Corp. slipped 0.90 percent, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. declined 1.76 percent.