Tokyo stocks fell 0.31 percent on Thursday morning after five days of gains, with the market dragged down by a stronger yen in thin holiday trade.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 54.64 points to 17,799.59 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was down 0.29 percent, or 4.12 points, at 1,421.90.
"Caution has grown over the fast pace of rises in Japanese stocks," Okasan Online Securities said in a note.
The benchmark Nikkei had gained more than six percent over the past five trading days on confidence in the US economy and the yen's drop against the dollar, which is a plus for Japanese exporters.
But on Thursday the dollar edged down to 120.14 yen against 120.44 yen in New York.
In Tokyo trade, Japan Airlines tumbled 4.70 percent to 3,545.0 yen after the leading Nikkei business daily reported that Japan's government decided to scrap a corporate tax waiver previously granted to the once-bankrupt firm.
While the current waiver system allows companies that emerge from bankruptcy protection to avoid paying corporate tax for as many as seven years, the government will change the system to exclude companies that re-list their shares, the Nikkei said.
JAL went bankrupt in 2010 but re-listed its shares in Tokyo in 2012 after a government bailout. The airline has posted strong earnings since then.
Bucking the overall downtrend in Tokyo, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 1.11 percent to 4,407.0 yen on reports that it will announce the purchase of Citigroup's retail business in Japan.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged to a fresh record in a holiday-shortened session Wednesday, one day after topping 18,000 points for the first time ever, closing up 0.03 percent at 18,030.21.