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Tokyo stocks slipped 0.33 percent in subdued trading on Thursday morning ahead of the Independence Day holiday in the United States while a slightly stronger yen also added to selling pressure.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was 46.68 points lower at 14,008.88 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares fell 0.43 percent, or 5.02 points, to 1,168.79.
The dip in Tokyo comes after the Dow in New York added 0.38 percent in shortened pre-July 4 holiday trade.
"The lack of participation caused by the US holiday should contribute to a limited trading range for the (Tokyo) market," SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi told Dow Jones Newswires.
Investors are keeping a close eye on a monthly US jobs report Friday for clues as to when the Federal Reserve will start reeling in its massive bond-buying programme, known was quantitative easing.
Also in focus are policy meetings for the European Central Bank and Bank of England later in the day, with both widely expected to hold off launching any fresh policy measures.
In currency trading, the dollar fetched 99.81 yen, up from earlier Tokyo trade but slightly off 99.86 yen Wednesday in New York, where it slipped back below the 100 yen level.
A stronger yen is bad for Japanese exporters as it makes their products less competitive abroad while reducing income when repatriated.
In stock trading, Dentsu tumbled 9.35 percent to 3,150 yen after the advertising giant surprised investors with a plan to raise $1.2 billion to fund its $4.8 billion takeover of British media group Aegis.
Suntory Beverage & Food was up 0.79 percent at 3,170 yen on its second day of trading after the drinks giant raised $3.9 billion in the world's second-biggest initial public offering this year.
Toyota slipped 0.64 percent to 6,190 yen, Sony was up 0.41 percent at 2,175 yen and Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing added 0.71 percent to 35,050 yen.