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Nikkei slips, telecom shares slump on Rakuten market entry plan

TOKYO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average slipped on Thursday, as banks and insurer shares weakened in line with lower interest rates while telecommunications shares withered on news that online retailer Rakuten plans to enter the mobile carrier market.

The Nikkei ended down 0.3 percent at 22,694.45. The broader Topix was 0.2 percent lower at 1,808.14.

The bank subindex fell 1.8 percent and the insurance sector slipped 1.9 percent, as U.S. Treasury yields slipped after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept its monetary policy plan intact.

Shares of Rakuten Inc dropped 4.9 percent after it said it would apply for a 4G mobile license, aiming to become the country's fourth major wireless carrier in a strategic shift that had analysts warning of an uphill battle to gain customers.

Telecom giants NTT Docomo Inc dropped 2.3 percent, KDDI Corp fell 2.8 percent and SoftBank Group Corp shed 2.3 percent.

Panasonic Corp shares rose 2.4 percent, after Toyota said on Wednesday that Japan's largest automaker is entering talks with Panasonic to team up on developing and producing batteries to power its electric and hybrid vehicles.

Kyowa Hakko Kirin shares rose 1.9 percent, lifted by a Nikkei report that the drugmaker expects to more than double its operating profit by 2020. That helped the pharmaceutical sector rise 0.4 percent.

The oil and coal subindex gained 1.4 percent, as crude oil futures rose back toward 2015 highs touched earlier this week. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Sam Holmes)