Tokyo stocks added 0.39 percent on Tuesday as investors await corporate earnings reports by major Japanese firms this week.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 42.41 points at 10,866.72, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.76 percent, or 6.98 points, to 920.76.
"The foreign investor buying overall is tepid, although there are pockets of more concentrated interest, such as in banks and brokerages," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.
"Apprehension over the upcoming (Federal Reserve) meeting, as well as US payrolls data is keeping enthusiasm somewhat at bay for the moment."
The Fed goes into the two-day meeting Tuesday a week after Japan's central bank unveiled fresh monetary easing measures that have weakened the yen.
The US central bank has said it would not tighten policy until the jobless rate fell to 6.5 percent. Friday will see the release of official jobs data, with unemployment currently at 7.8 percent.
Investors were also cautiously awaiting earnings results by major Japanese companies later this week, including Toshiba, Panasonic and Honda.
US stocks finished Monday mostly lower despite a stronger-than-expected manufactured durable goods report and a nearly 2 percent gain by Caterpillar.
The construction and mining equipment giant, considered a bellwether of the global economy, posted a big year-on-year drop in quarterly profit but suggested business could pick up in the second half of 2013.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.10 percent lower at 13,881.93.
In Tokyo trade, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 3.75 percent to 497 yen, while Sony slipped 1.56 percent to 1,385 yen after soaring Monday on a weak yen and after Merrill Lynch Japan raised its target price on the stock.
Osaka-listed videogame giant Nintendo also gave up some of its gains from the previous day, dipping 0.51 percent to 9,580 yen.
Toyota shares rose 0.23 percent to 4,325 yen, Honda was up 0.88 percent at 3,430 yen while Nissan jumped 4.35 percent to 934 yen.
On Monday, the trio released upbeat sales and production figures, with Toyota logging record 2012 sales of 9.75 million vehicles.
The data confirmed the Japanese giant had reclaimed the title of world's biggest automaker from General Motors.
In forex markets, the dollar weakened to 90.73 yen, against 90.82 yen in New York on Monday, with the euro also easing to 122.06 yen from 122.20 yen and to $1.3448 from $1.3454.