Pedestrians walk past the closing rate of the Tokyo Stock Exchange displayed in the window of a security company in Tokyo. (File photo: AFP)
Tokyo stocks opened higher on Tuesday, with investor sentiment propped up by a rally on Wall Street despite ongoing worries about the further spread of coronavirus infections.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.31 percent or 59.98 points to 19,144.95 in early trade while the broader Topix index slipped 0.15 percent or 2.19 points to 1,433.35.
Wall Street stocks gained more than three percent Monday as markets weighed a dire near-term economic outlook against unprecedented federal spending and central bank interventions.
"Japanese stocks are likely to test a rebound following upturns in US shares," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said.
"But we should not loosen our caution given lingering worries about a further spread of the coronavirus in Japan," he said in a note.
Concerns over a possible declaration of a state of emergency in Japan by the prime minister were also limiting rises, he added.
The dollar rose to 108.10 yen from 107.72 yen in New York on Monday afternoon.
Major karaoke company Daiichikosho lost 2.03 percent to 2,930 yen as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to stay away from karaoke parlours, bars and nightclubs to prevent the virus from spreading.
Fujifilm continued to rise on expectations that its anti-flu medicine Avigan will be approved as a treatment for the coronavirus, gaining 2.70 percent to 5,464 yen.
Automakers were broadly lower with Nissan down 2.7 percent at 374.5 yen and Toyota off 0.57 percent at 6,758 yen.
Shortly before the market opened, government figures showed the unemployment rate remained stable in February at 2.4 percent, in line with economist expectations.
The ratio between the number of jobs and the number of jobseekers remains high, but dropped slightly from January, with 145 jobs available for every 100 jobseekers compared to 149 jobs per 100 jobseekers a month earlier.