Tokyo stocks finished mixed Friday ahead of weekend elections in Japan, as the nation's central bank said confidence among manufacturers had plunged in the final months of the year.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was flat, dipping 5.17 points to 9,737.56, while the Topix index of all first-section shares gained 0.23 percent, or 1.83 points, to 801.04.
Japan's premier stock exchange saw one of the year's heaviest trading sessions in the runup to the Sunday elections, with opinion polls pointing to a sizeable victory for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
"Short-term money has locked in profits before Sunday's pivotal elections," said Tatsunori Kawai, chief strategist at kabu.com Securities.
The yen was under pressure Friday after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) released its key Tankan survey that showed confidence among large manufacturers at its lowest level in nearly three years, raising concerns over the economy.
The quarterly survey tumbled more than expected to minus 12 from minus three in the third quarter. Economists had expected a reading of minus 10.
The survey of more than 10,000 firms shows the percentage of companies saying business conditions are good minus those saying they are bad, and is a key measure used by the BoJ in formulating monetary policy.
The opposition LDP's leader Shinzo Abe has vowed to pressure the bank to adopt more aggressive easing measures, with his comments weighing on the safe-haven Japanese currency.
The weakening yen helped Tokyo stocks shake off European and US market sell-offs as worries intensify that Washington's fiscal cliff negotiations were dragging on with little progress, analysts said.
Sony was up 2.25 percent at 906 yen, Toshiba climbed 1.37 percent to 294 yen, and mobile carrier Softbank slipped 2.81 percent to 2,930 yen.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group was up 1.57 percent to 388 yen on reports that its plans to pick up a 20 percent stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of Vietnam for about 60 billion yen ($716 million).
In forex trade, the dollar was at 83.71 yen, from 83.64 yen in New York late Thursday.
The euro bought $1.3110 and 109.79 yen, against $1.3073 and 109.38 yen in US trade.