Tokyo stocks closed marginally higher on Thursday as optimism over coronavirus vaccines deflated selling pressure following a recent surge.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.03%, or 8.39 points, to 26 809.37, while the broader Topix index was up 0.075, or 1.28 points, at 1 775.25.
Shares opened lower on profit-taking after renewing near-three-decade highs.
"But vaccine hopes remained strong, which sustained the market," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the "fantastic" news that the country's independent medicines regulator has approved a vaccine just 12 months after the pandemic began in China.
"The market is apparently overheating but investors are not losing their appetite," Horiuchi told AFP.
"Today's gain showed the current strength of the market," he added.
The dollar fetched 104.47 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 104.41 yen in New York late Wednesday.
In Tokyo, automakers were higher following reports the Japanese government will ban new gasoline cars around the mid-2030s. Nissan jumped 2.86% to 527.8 yen with Toyota up 1.20% at 7 164 yen and Honda rising 1.24% to 3 085 yen.
Elsewhere, Sony rose 1.52% to 9,765 yen but Nintendo lost 1.33% to 56,250 yen on profit-taking.