Tokyo stocks close lower

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JapanBrokerage REUTERS A man looks at his watch as he passes an electronic board displaying a graph of currency rates outside a brokerage in Tokyo.

Tokyo- Tokyo shares slipped 1.18 percent on Friday as the yen strengthened while investors awaited the start of a Group of 20

meeting in Russia where forex markets are expected to top the agenda.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 133.45 points to 11,173.83, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 1.31

percent, or 12.47 points, at 942.41.

“Caution is emerging over the yen's direction,” Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of research at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

In afternoon currency trade, the dollar weakened to 92.50 yen from 92.87 yen in New York on Thursday.

The euro bought $1.3353 and 123.51 yen, slipping from $1.3385 and 124.10 yen in New York on disappointing eurozone economic data.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 leading economies meet in Moscow later Friday as criticism, mostly from Europe, grows over Japan's monetary easing which has helped pushed down the currency.

The hot-button claims, which Japanese officials have repeatedly denied, are expected to top the international meeting's agenda.

Weighing on sentiment was fourth-quarter GDP data on Thursday that showed the 17-nation eurozone's economy shrank a worse-than-expected 0.6 percent in the three months to December, slipping deeper into recession.

On Friday, Japan's industrial production for December was revised down slightly to 2.4 percent from a preliminary 2.5 percent.

The figures came a day after separate data showed the world's third-largest economy contracted for a third straight quarter by the end of December, underscoring the size of the job ahead for Japan's new government and its pledge to revive the country's fortunes.

In stock trading, major exporters were down on the stronger yen with Sony off 1.86 percent to 1,313 yen, while Nissan fell 0.10

percent at 932 yen and Canon was down 1.50 percent to 3,265 yen.

Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal, the world's second-biggest steelmaker, was off 1.94 percent at 252 yen.

Brewer Asahi rose 0.28 percent to 2,131 yen, a day after saying it launched legal action in Australia against two private equity firms over claims it overpaid in a $1.3 billion takeover of New Zealand's Independent Liquor in 2011. - Sapa-AFP

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