TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were nearly flat on Wednesday in choppy trade as investors refrained from taking large positions as geopolitical tensions soured the mood.
The Nikkei 225 share average edged up 0.07 percent to 18,432.20 after traversing positive and negative territory, while the broader Topix was down 0.01 percent at 1,471.42.
Regional banks Kita-Nippon Bank and Keiyo Bank both underperformed after the 10-year JGB yield hit 0 percent, its lowest level since mid November.
Escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea kept investors nervous, while eyes were also on Europe where sterling surged after British Prime Minister Theresa May called an early general election for June 8, seeking to strengthen her party’s majority ahead of Brexit negotiations.
Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 1.1 percent, Honda Motor Co shedding 1.2 percent and Panasonic Corp rising 0.7 percent.
Shippers fell after the Baltic dry index, or freight charges, dropped overnight. Mitsui OSK Lines shed 2.1 percent and Nippon Yusen stumbled 3.1 percent.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to 13,174.08. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)