TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 0.32 percent lower Thursday as investors found few buying incentives before congressional testimony from the head of the US central bank later in the day.
The Nikkei-225 index dipped 47.86 points to 14,923.11, while the Topix index of all first section shares fell 0.65 percent, or 8.00 points, to 1,217.35.
"Foreigners are not anxious to bid the market up with no overt catalysts, while domestic players are extremely loath to buy until the Nikkei falls to 14,500 or lower," said an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage.
US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday in a hearing delayed by two weeks because of severe winter weather, a factor that itself has been blamed for a recent series of disappointing economic indicators.
Yellen's comments will be pored over for clues about the bank's view on the US economy and its plans for its stimulus programme.
Currency trade in Asia was rangebound, with the dollar quoted at 102.34 yen in Tokyo, against 102.38 yen in New York late Wednesday.
Panasonic rose 2.62 percent to 1,292 yen on news that it is involved in plans by US electric vehicles start-up Tesla Motors to build a so-called "Gigafactory" for advanced electric car batteries.
Real estate firms saw increasing selling, with Sumitomo Realty & Development down 3.02 percent at 4,141 yen and Daiwa House off 2.68 percent at 1,850 yen.
Games giant Nintendo fell 3.92 percent to 12,490. (AFP)