Japanese shares opened 0.76 per cent higher Thursday after a modest rise on Wall Street sparked by the Federal Reserve's decision to stay the course on supporting the US economy, brokers said.
The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 79.25 points to 10,481.15 in the first few minutes of trade.
Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at Nikko Cordial Securities, expected the index Nikkei to trade between 10,400 and 10,500 against Wednesday's close of 10,401.90.
Trading was likely to be range-bound as investors awaited earnings from major Japanese companies including Canon, Nintendo and NEC later Thursday, he told Dow Jones Newswires.
"If many of the key earnings turn out to be as good as expectations, there will be a positive reassessment" of Japanese stocks, he added.
Before trading opened, the government announced that Japan's trade surplus more than doubled in 2010 as exports grew 24.4 per cent to stage their first annual rise in three years, thanks to robust demand from emerging economies.
The euro bought $1.3705 in early Tokyo trade against $1.3708 in New York late Wednesday. The dollar was flat at 82.16 yen.
In New York on Wednesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average made a brief foray above the symbolic threshold of 12,000 for the first time since June 2008, before closing up a mere 0.07 per cent to finish at 11,985.44.
The broad-market S&P 500 index rose 0.42 per cent.
The Federal Open Market Committee wrapped up a two-day meeting Wednesday, deciding to keep ultra-low interest rates and continue a bond-purchasing programme.