TOKYO: Tokyo stocks opened flat on Wednesday as the market paused for breath after the Topix index hit a 10-year high, while scandal-hit Kobe Steel plunged for the second straight day.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched down 0.04 percent, or 8.76 points, to 20,814.75 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.01 percent or 0.21 points, at 1,694.93, reports AFP.
"Even though the Japanese market got a boost from rallies in US shares, investors are taking a cautious view as the yen temporarily hit the 111-yen level" overnight, Okasan Online Securities strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.
The dollar was trading at 112.27 yen in Asian trade, from 112.45 yen in New York late Tuesday, after falling to a two-week low of 111.99 yen.
Kobe Steel dived for a second day, as the latest reports said six of Japan's best-known carmakers including Nissan and Honda used products from the steelmaker.
Shares in Kobe Steel dropped as much as 17.22 percent to 884 yen in early trade, after plunging 22 percent on Tuesday.
The Kobe Steel scandal broke on Sunday when the manufacturer admitted to falsifying data linked to the strength and quality of products.
Analysts also noted the International Monetary Fund's upward revision of Japan's growth forecast this year was supporting the market, while uncertainty lingered over the likely outcome of an October 22 general election.
The IMF said it now expects the world's number three economy to post 1.5 percent GDP growth in 2017 and 0.7 percent next year, up from a July projection of 1.3 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, citing a pickup in exports and stronger consumer spending.
Automakers were down despite brisk sales data, with Toyota slipping 0.86 percent to 6,940 yen, Honda down 0.41 percent at 3,391 yen and Nissan 0.36 percent lower at 1,088 yen.
Panasonic was up 1.68 percent at 1,668 yen after a brokerage raised its evaluation on the shares, while Sony was down 1.60 percent at 4,058 yen after a brokerage downgrade.