On Thursday shares dipped on Wednesday as concerns about the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant kept investors on edge, while upbeat earnings boosted Nippon Steel and other cyclical shares.
Some of the country's top companies, such as Toyota Motor Sony, Honda Motor, and a few trading houses, are due to report their results later in the day.
The Nikkei share average dipped 0.16% to 27,569. 52, while the broader Topix slid 0.20% to 1,927. 28.
Concerns about growing COVID - 19 cases are mounting as the head of the Japan Medical Association called for a nationwide state emergency.
It's not that there is huge selling. But no one buys. Even when a company announces strong earnings, that certainly pleases its existing investors but there's no additional buyers, said Takenori Yamamoto, portfolio manager at Norinchukin Zenkyoren Asset.
He expects more buying in August when the government will likely focus on economic stimulus ahead of an election that must be held by November.
Still, positive earnings did give some share a fillip.
Nippon Steel jumped 8.1% after the country's top steelmaker bumped up its net profit estimate for the current year by more than 50%, well above analysts forecasts.
That helped to boost other steelmakers, with JFE up 3.3% and Kobe Steel going up 1.5%.
Daikin recorded 4.6% revenue growth after the manufacturer of air conditioning records better than expected profit growth.
Z Holdings gained 6.3% after the internet firm reported a quarterly increase in profit.
On the other hand, Nichirei Corp. dropped 11.6% after the freezing food product firm that had benefited from the global pandemic demand boost reported weak quarterly profits in the quarter.
Game companies were still reeling after an online article in China state media described spiritual games as mental opium.
Nexon lost 3.5% while Koei Tecmo gained 2.3%.