- Honda Motor led the underperformers among the Topix 30, down 1.79%, followed by Shin-Etsu Chemical, which lost 1.72%.
TOKYO: Japan's Nikkei share average retreated from a more than three-decade high in early trade on Wednesday as investors locked in some profits after a rally, but the market stayed on course for a second year of gains.
The benchmark Nikkei share average fell 0.57% to 27,412.24 on the last trading day of the year, after closing at its highest level since Aug. 16, 1990 in the previous session.
The broader Topix slipped 0.67% to 1,806.92, pulling back from its highest level since October 2018 reached on Tuesday.
On the year, the Nikkei was up 15.8% compared to an 18.2% gain in 2019, while the Topix was nearly 5% higher after climbing more than 15.2% in the previous year.
Japanese financial markets will be closed from Thursday and reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.
"Not a lot of investors would be willing to force themselves to make year-end positions, especially a day after many market players made large purchases," a market participant said.
Market sentiment was also hit by overnight losses on Wall Street on re-emerging doubts about whether the US Senate would authorise additional pandemic aid cheques.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday delayed vote on President Donald Trump's call to increase pandemic relief payments to $2,000.
All but five of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange in the negative territory.
Iron and steel, mining and textiles led declines on the main bourse, falling between 1.16% and 1.75%.
Honda Motor led the underperformers among the Topix 30, down 1.79%, followed by Shin-Etsu Chemical, which lost 1.72%.
JFE Holdings, Mitsui E&S Holdings and Seiko Epson Corp, were the biggest percentage losers in the index, down between 2.95% and 3.13%.
Among individual gainers, a renewable energy developer Renova rose 2.65% to reach its record high, benefiting from investors' growing expectations for clean energy.