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Tokyo stocks close up 0.48%

Tokyo stocks closed 0.48 percent higher on Thursday as late bargain-hunting dragged the Japanese market out of negative territory and snapped a five-day losing streak.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 72.58 points to finish at 15,232.37, while the Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.55 percent, or 6.83 points, to 1,258.12.

"Players were searching for a reversal timing following the five-day losing streak," said Kenzaburo Suwa, a strategist at Okasan Securities.

Bargain-hunting emerged in late trading following a news report that Japan's government pension investment fund plans to allocate over 20 percent of its funds to domestic stocks compared with a current 12 percent target.

"But it will take more time to see if today's gain would lead to a stable upward trend," Suwa said.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) kicked off a two-day policy meeting Thursday, with trading likely to be muted ahead of a holiday next week.

"The current BoJ session may have the fewest expectations of any meeting this year," said an equity trading director at a European brokerage.

"Some traders are actually departing for next week's annual Obon summer holiday early, confident that the central bank will do nothing more than stand pat on current policy."

SoftBank shares rose 0.98 percent to 7,041.0 yen following a sharp decline earlier this week after the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint had abandoned the $32 billion offer for T-Mobile in the face of US regulatory opposition.

ANA Holdings fell 0.28 percent to 247.6 yen, while Japan Airlines was up 0.18 percent at 5,480.0 yen.

In Asian currency markets, the dollar strengthened to 102.35 yen against 102.11 yen in New York Wednesday.

US stocks edged higher with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.08 percent.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story. --