Tokyo's Nikkei index ended 0.27 percent higher on Tuesday, but gains were capped as pro-easing comments from the men nominated to take over at the Bank of Japan were offset by a pick-up in the yen.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended up 31.16 points at 11,683.45, while the Topix index of all first-section shares lost 0.37 percent, or 3.63 points, to 988.62.
The Nikkei was given a positive lead from Wall Street, where the Dow moved to within a whisker of its record high.
Hiroshi Nakaso, who has been nominated to become one of the Bank of Japan's deputies, told lawmakers he was open to new ideas to beat deflation, which he called the bank's "important mission".
"This is a golden opportunity to achieve our long-time goal -- getting out of deflation," Nakaso said.
The second proposed deputy, Kikuo Iwata, said the bank should take bolder easing steps to meet a two percent inflation target within a couple of years.
Their comments came a day after Haruhiko Kuroda, who has been tapped to take over as governor, told parliament that if confirmed he would do "everything possible" to reverse years of growth-sapping deflation.
Despite the comments the greenback, which has surged against the yen in recent months, weakened to 93.01 yen from 93.46 yen in New York Monday afternoon.
The euro bought 121.22 yen compared with 121.74 yen.
However, SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi, said: "The yen remains on a trajectory for further weakening, which should continue to support stock prices."
The yen has been under pressure recently on expectations that the central bank will adopt fresh credit easing measures as it prepares for a change of leadership.
In share trading index heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo cheap chic clothing chain, jumped 5.51 percent to 26,770 yen after reporting that same-store sales enjoyed a healthy 9.6 percent rise in February.
Sony slipped 0.90 percent to 1,425 yen a day after saying it would sell its stake in social networking firm DeNA to brokerage giant Nomura, whose shares were flat at 554 yen.
Automaker Nissan slid 0.21 percent to 943 yen and Canon fell 0.14 percent to 3,345 yen.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --