Tokyo's key Nikkei index closed lower on Friday in cautious trade as worries over rising coronavirus cases in Japan continued to weigh on the market.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended down 0.16%, or 43.28 points, at 26 763.39 while the broader Topix index edged up 0.04%, or 0.66 points, to end at 1 793.24.%
"An increase in new coronavirus infections and the resulting pressure on Japan's medical system is still weighing on sentiment," Daiwa Securities said.
During the midday break, the Bank of Japan extended its emergency virus-related lending programme but kept its monetary easing policy unchanged, which prompted no strong reaction from investors.
But bargain-hunting purchases in late trade supported the market's downside with the broad-based Topix index rebounding to positive territory, dealers said.
The dollar fetched 103.46 yen in Asian trade, against 103.10 yen in New York late Thursday.
Chip-linked shares were among losers, with chip-testing equipment maker Advantest slipping 2.72% to 7 160 yen and chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron declining 2.68% to 36 250 yen.
Sony closed up 2.29% at 10 255 yen, despite news that the company is pulling the much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store, after a flood of complaints and ridicule over bugs.
Japan's core consumer price index that excludes fresh food was minus 0.9 in November, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, according to data issued by the internal affairs ministry before the opening bell.
Investors shrugged off the reading, which was in line with market expectations and the worst since September 2010.