* US jobs data on Friday in focus for clues on US rate
* Takata soars for 4th day on hopes it will settle criminal
charges with US
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Jan 5 Japan's Nikkei share average edged
down on Thursday as a stronger yen hurt some exporters, but the
downside was limited as strong U.S. shares supported overall
The Nikkei eased 0.1 percent to 19,568.93 points in
midmorning trade after flirting with positive territory, while
the broader Topix rose 0.2 percent to 1,557.06.
The dollar slipped to 116.63 yen after having peaked
at 118.605 on Tuesday as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's
December meeting showed concerns that quicker economic growth
under President-elect Donald Trump could require faster interest
U.S. stock investors took heart from the minutes, chasing
the market higher overnight.
"A U.S. rate hike is positive for Japanese stocks as it is
translated (as a sign of) a U.S. economic recovery. Investors
cautiously stay focused on the release of U.S. jobs data this
Friday," said Isao Kubo, an equity strategist at Nissay Asset
But he added that as the dollar-yen levels remain the main
focus in the Japanese market, a rise in the yen can sour
sentiment so trading is likely to be subdued throughout the day.
Automakers languished after rising on the previous day.
Toyota Motor Corp dropped 0.8 percent and Honda Motor
Co shed 0.1 percent.
On the other hand, drugmakers attracted buyers. Astellas
Pharma rose 1.3 percent, while Shionogi & Co
gained 2.1 percent.
Takata Corp hit its daily-limit high for a fourth
straight day on continued expectations that criminal charges
with the U.S. Department of Justice on its defective airbags may
settle this month.
It later pared gains and was up 1.7 percent by late morning.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to
(Editing by Kim Coghill)