Tokyo stocks opened almost flat on Tuesday as cautious traders fretted over the US-China trade deal and fresh unrest in Hong Kong.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.06 percent or 15.04 points at 23,346.88 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.10 percent or 1.71 points at 1,702.32.
Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary that stocks were struggling to rise after "mixed US shares, uncertainties over US-China trade talks, and unrest in Hong Kong."
The nervy trade in Tokyo came after a negative day for most global stock markets.
Traders were trying to interpret US President Donald Trump's latest comments on US-China trade and were unsettled by the increasing violence in Hong Kong, where police shot one person and another man was set alight.
In Asia, the dollar fetched 109.03 yen against 109.95 yen in New York late Monday.
In Tokyo, automakers were among the losers, with Honda dropping 1.96 percent to 3,138 yen, Toyota trading down 0.55 percent at 7,885 yen, and Nissan off 0.31 percent at 705.2 yen.
Nissan is due to release its first-half earnings report after the closing bell on Tuesday with investors bracing for more poor results.
Chip-linked shares were higher, with semiconductor testing equipment maker Advantest gaining 1.47 percent to 5,510 yen and chip-testing equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron edging up 0.36 percent to 21,954 yen.
China-related shares were lower, with electronic parts maker Rohm trading down 1.28 percent at 8,450 yen and construction machine maker Komatsu lower by 0.39 percent at 2,654 yen.
On Wall Street, the Dow ended up less than 0.1 percent at 27,691.24 but the broader S&P closed down 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended down 0.1 percent.