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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei index closed higher on Thursday, as shipping firms rose on prospects of more economic reopenings and drugmakers were boosted by reports of government support.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.34% higher at 28,958.56, while the broader Topix ticked down 0.02% to 1,956.73.

Signs that more economies are reopening amid a steady vaccine rollout underpinned shipping firms, with Nippon Yusen jumping 3.65% to be the biggest gainer on the Nikkei.

Eisai sank 7.02% after two days of gains by daily limit. US regulators earlier this week approved a drug developed by the firm and Biogen for Alzheimer’s disease. For the week, the stock has gained 30% so far.

Rival drugmaker Shionogi rose 3.4% on a local media report that the firm plans to mass-produce its own Covid-19 vaccines.

Chugai Pharmaceutical gained 1.04% and Ono Pharmaceutical rose 1.5% on a media report they will receive government subsidies for their research on Covid-19 drugs.