Tokyo shares closed higher on Monday, lifted by gains on Wall Street last week, though the spread of Covid in China weighed on investor sentiment. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.65 percent, or 170.62 points, to end at 26,405.87, while the broader Topix index firmed 0.24 percent, or 4.58 points, to 1,902.52. A set of fresh data last week indicated a slowing of US inflation, although many investors kept their guards high, predicting sluggish overall growth next year. “While inflation may be receding… investors will likely remain sufficiently sceptical until we see a more sustained and pronounced deceleration,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary. Amid thin holiday trade, investors were also keeping their eyes on spiking virus cases in China after the world’s second-largest economy dropped its zero-Covid policy. Mizuho Securities noted that traders would not aggressively buy shares ahead of year-end holidays. In Japan, players also monitored the falling approval rating for the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Local media say Kishida may replace his reconstruction minister as soon as Tuesday over a political funds scandal. It would make him the fourth minister under Kishida to be dismissed in the past few months over scandals involving money or ties with the Unification Church. The dollar stood at 132.57 yen, compared with 132.82 yen seen Friday in New York.