TOKYO: Japanese shares closed higher amid choppy trade on Wednesday, marking a rebound from three straight sessions of sharp losses, although uncertainties over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant capped gains.
The Nikkei share average ended 0.41% higher at 27,935.62, after gaining as much as 1%. The broader Topix also reversed early losses to gain 0.44% at 1,936.74.
The Nikkei lost 5.7% in the last three sessions, while the Topix declined 4.8%.
The market is volatile as investors are reacting cautiously to the uncertainties of the Omicron variant, after the country confirmed its first case of the variant on Tuesday, a day after closing its borders to all foreigners in one of the world's toughest precautionary measures.
Markets also gave up some gains after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell overnight came close to indicating that the central bank will speed up the pace of its bond-buying taper at a meeting later this month.
"The market outlook became unclear after Powell's testimony," said Kazuharu Konishi, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.
The economy-sensitive paper and pulp, shipping and machinery sectors rose the most among the bourse's 33 industry sub-indexes.
Robot maker Fanuc and air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries contributed the most to the Nikkei's gain, rising 4.45% and 4.47%, respectively.
Automakers rose after data showed Japan's industrial output rose in October for the first time in four months as re-opening of Asian factories eased supply constraints.
Toyota Motor gained 2.22%, while Honda Motor advanced 2.39%. Autoparts maker Denso advanced 1.88%.
Technology heavyweights fell, with start-up investor SoftBank Group sliding 2.19% and medical services platform M3 losing 2.11%.