Picture used for illustrative purpose. File
Tokyo shares closed higher on Wednesday on expectations for the government formed by newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who succeeded Shinzo Abe.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.09 per cent, or 20.64 points, to end at 23,475.53 while the broader Topix index advanced 0.21 per cent, or 3.51 points, to 1,644.35.
Tokyo investors were assessing the likely economic policies of Suga, who has pledged to continue the path charted by his predecessor.
"Tokyo shares moved into positive territory on hopes for the new government," Okasan Online Securities said in a note.
The global market is focused on Wednesday's conclusion of the two-day US Fed meeting. Fed Chair Jay Powell is expected to again signal near-zero interest rates for the foreseeable future.
Analysts are also watching for further details on the bank's new inflation targeting strategy and comments from Powell on the outlook for economic recovery.
The Bank of Japan will also kick off its two-day policy board meeting on Wednesday. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is scheduled to hold a press conference on Thursday.
The dollar stood at 105.34 yen in Tokyo, compared with 105.45 yen in New York.
Among major shares in Tokyo, SoftBank Group surged 4.63 per cent to 6,704 yen as it moves to sell chip designer Arm to NVIDIA for up to $40 billion.
Sony gained 1.88 per cent to 8,210 yen.
Automakers were lower with Honda dropping 2.59 per cent to 2,629.5 yen and Nissan falling 2.48 per cent to 388.3 yen.
Engineering firm Hitachi lost 1.67 per cent to 3,705 yen amid reports that it planned to withdraw from a proposed UK nuclear power project.
The world’s largest economies delivered more worrisome cues on Monday as anxiety over the virus outbreak sent stock and oil prices plunging and closed sites from the Sistine Chapel to Mideast schools.
China moved again to cushion its economy, cutting a key medium-term interest rate to record lows, paving the way for a similar reduction in benchmark loan rates, while reducing the amount banks must hold as reserves.
Retailers in Japan began charging for plastic bags on Wednesday, a move aimed at curbing Japanese consumers' love for packaging and finally bringing the country in line with other major economies.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat, while travel and leisure stocks shed the most among sectors with a 2.4% fall.
The dollar gave up gains made after the Federal Reserve upgraded its 2020 economic forecast this week to trade in negative territory on Thursday. It was last quoted at 92.923 against a basket of major currencies, on track for a 0.3% weekly loss.
Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8% in August, the Office for National Statistics said - slightly above the average 0.7% forecast in a Reuters poll - and, compared with a year earlier, they were up 2.8%, just below forecasts of 3.0% annual growth.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.18 per cent, or 40.93 points, to close at 23,360.30 for a weekly loss of 0.20 per cent. The broader Topix index finished 0.49 per cent, or 8.02 points, higher at 1,646.42 for a weekly gain of 0.60 per cent.