Tokyo stocks close up 1.16%

Tokyo stocks rose 1.16 percent to a four-and-a-half-year high on Thursday after Japan's lower house of parliament approved the government's nominees to lead the central bank.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 141.53 points to 12,381.19, its best finish since September 2008, while the Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.65 percent, or 6.75 points, to 1,038.17.

Tokyo won support over hopes of further monetary easing steps, as a new Bank of Japan leadership team was approved by the lower house.

Proposed BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, a finance veteran who has announced his resignation as head of the Asian Development Bank, and his two deputies are widely expected to win upper house confirmation on Friday.

"Confirmation of all of the government's BoJ nominees will send a positive signal that looser central bank policy monetary policy will be a certainty," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

"The overall environment for equities investing remains bullish."

The dollar clawed back most of the losses it suffered in the morning to buy 96.05 yen in Tokyo, from 96.14 yen in New York, while the euro was at 124.43 yen from 124.56 yen.

All the three nominees are advocates of active monetary easing aimed at dragging Japan out of years of deflation that have crimped personal spending and business investment.

Also boosting sentiment was revised January industrial production figures that showed Japan's factory output rose 0.3 percent, up from a preliminary figure of 0.1 percent on-month -- after better-than-expected US retail sales pushed the Dow to another record close Wednesday.

In stock trading, major exporters also reversed early losses as Sony gained 0.20 percent to 1,503 yen, Canon rose 0.57 percent at 3,470 yen and Toyota advanced 0.81 percent at 4,950 yen.

Clothing store giant Fast Retailing rose 2.53 percent to 30,300 yen.

GS Yuasa, which makes batteries for the grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner, was down 1.11 percent at 442 yen while All Nippon Airways, a major Dreamliner customer, rose 1.95 percent to 209 yen after US air-safety regulators on Tuesday approved test flights of the grounded plane.

Japan Tobacco shares slipped 2.34 percent to 3,130 yen as the company wraps up a partial sale of the government's stake in the former monopoly, which was expected to raise about $7.8 billion.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --