Tokyo - Tokyo shares fell 0.18 percent on Monday with early gains on rebounds in US stocks eroded by profit-taking.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 24.27 points to 13,636.28 while the Topix index of all first-section issues lost 0.14 percent, or 1.63 points, to 1,140.00.
Tokyo stocks opened 0.43 percent higher, underpinned by continued rebounds on Wall Street last week and the dollar's stability against the yen.
But investors quickly moved to lock in profits due to a lack of fresh buying catalysts.
Automakers led exporters lower on profit-taking following Friday's sharp gains.
Toyota Motor was off 0.16 percent to 6,210 yen and Nissan was down 0.48 percent to 1,023 yen. Suzuki Motor fell 1.92 percent to 2,194 yen.
“Without many fundamental trading incentives, the market remains in a churning process, bouncing between bargain-buying and profit-taking,” said Tachibana Securities market advisor Kenichi Hirano.
He added that Suzuki Motor's drop was big due to its heavy exposure to India, whose economy is feared to have peaked.
The Indian rupee kept record-breaking plunges against the dollar last week due to worries over its economy and capital flights with the US Federal Reserve set to reel in its massive stimulus programme.
“Confidence may not return to Japan's main stock indexes until September,” Hirano told Dow Jones Newswires.
Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, was down 6.88 percent to 473 yen after a series of reports over highly radioactive water leaks from a storage tank at the plant.
Currencies continued their will-they-won't-they dance over the Federal Reserve stimulus climbdown in Asian trade Monday after poor US new-home data offered some support to emerging market units.
The dollar was largely unchanged against two of the world's major currencies.
The greenback was at 98.60 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade while the euro bought $1.3382 and 131.91 yen. - Sapa-AFP