Tokyo stocks ended Wednesday morning 0.11 percent higher after a string of recent losses stoked by concerns over the global economy and a looming US "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 9.62 points, to 8,670.67 by the break while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues inched up 0.03 percent, or 0.21 points, to 722.77.
The Nikkei may lack a clear direction in the early session as external uncertainty weighs on the index, while bargain-hunting offers some upward momentum, dealers said.
Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of research at Chibagin Asset Management told Dow Jones Newswires: "Concerns over a global economic slowdown is spreading in Asia. Meanwhile, there aren't many aggressive sellers either," he .
Fears over Europe, with Greece still awaiting crucial bailout cash and a survey pointing to worsening German investor confidence in the eurozone's biggest economy, has dented sentiment.
Traders are also increasingly worried about the US economy as the fiscal cliff, which would send the economy back into recession, is due to come in on January 1 unless a deeply divided Congress can reach a deal.
The Tokyo market also reacted to speculation that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda would call snap elections by the end of the year, sending construction stocks higher on hopes for more public works projects.
Major contractor Obayashi rose 4.81 percent to 348 yen and Kajima gained 1.42 percent to 214 yen.
Shares in embattled electronics maker Sharp soared 6.57 percent to 162 yen following a news reports it is in final talks for a cash injection of up to $500 million from US chip giant Intel.