Japan's Nikkei stock average edged down 0.1 percent in choppy trade on Thursday, with losses in exporters such as Sony Corp <6758.T> on fears about the U.S. economy narrowly outweighing support from shippers and auto shares.

Japan Tobacco <2914.T> slipped 5.2 percent, becoming the largest percentage loser on the Nikkei 225, after an official of Japan's largest opposition party said it would raise tobacco taxes with the goal of halving the number of smokers nationwide if it wins the next election.

The benchmark Nikkei <.N225> lost 7.85 points to 9,430.92 after brief forays into positive territory, while the broader Topix <.TOPX> edged up 0.1 percent to 893.61.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies)