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Tokyo: Nikkei edges lower as strong yen bites; cryptocurrency stocks tumble

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[TOKYO] Japan's Nikkei share average ended lower on Thursday, hit by declines in automakers and electronic component makers as the strong yen soured investor appetite.

Bitcoin-related stocks also tumbled after South Korea's justice minister said that the government is preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading.

The Nikkei shed 0.3 per cent to 23,710.43.

Toyota Motor Corp dropped 1 per cent and Honda Motor Co tumbled 1.9 per cent.

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The yen has risen this week after the Bank of Japan on Tuesday trimmed its buying of long-dated Japanese government bonds in market operations.

Early in the day, the US dollar suffered its biggest one-day drop in nearly eight months against the yen following a report that China was ready to slow or halt its purchases of US Treasuries, but it regaining ground later as China's foreign exchange regulator said the report may be based on erroneous information and could be "fake".

Kyocera Corp fell 1.4 per cent, Alps Electric declined 1.5 per cent and Taiyo Yuden stumbled 1.4 per cent.

Virtual currency trading company Remixpoint Inc fell 2.6 per cent, point media business operator Ceres Inc dived 9 per cent, internet services provider GMO Internet tanked 4.5 per cent.

Banks continued to advance, however, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rising 0.6 per cent and Mizuho Financial Group gaining 0.5 per cent.

The broader Topix dropped 0.2 per cent to 1,888.09.

REUTERS