Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won the gold medal with 236.49 points. Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang of China were second at 182.18 and Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, also of China, were third at 171.32.
It was the second competition this season for Lawrence and Swiegers who are hoping to regain top form in time for the national championships in January after an injury earlier this year to Swiegers.
"It wasn't perfect but we feel like it was a step forward and part of the process," said Lawrence. "We are going to take the positives and adjust our training accordingly."
Swiegers said he was too tentative.
"I left a lot on table," he said. "I've been skating better than what I showed today. Still we went out there and fought everything. It is important for us to keep everything in perspective. Our big goals are nationals and qualifying for the Olympics."
In ice dancing, Toronto's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., stand fifth after the short dance. It was the couple's first event this season. Poirier was out three months after sustaining a serious injury to his leg this past spring.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., lead the field with 73.70 points. The free dance is on Sunday.
In singles competition, local favourite Daisuke Takahashi produced a solid free skate to win his fifth NHK Trophy.
Takahashi, who had a 10-point lead after the short program, received 268.31 points after the free skate to finish 15 points ahead of second-place Nobunari Oda.
Takahashi, who was a disappointing fourth at Skate America, hit his opening quad toeloop. He had a shaky landing on a triple axel and was downgraded on a combination jump but was solid otherwise.
"I didn't do well at Skate America so I was determined to get my confidence back," Takahashi said. "I wasn't perfect today but little by little was able to gain momentum."
Two-time world champion Mao Asada completed a successful day for the host nation by winning the free skate to capture her fourth NHK Trophy.
Asada, who was first after the short program, under-rotated her opening triple axel but finished with a total of 207.59 points. Coupled with her win at Skate America, Asada secured a berth at the Grand Prix final next month in the Fukuoka, Japan.
"I was a bit disappointed not to do the triple axel cleanly," Asada said. "It's something I want to be able to do well but I'm happy with the overall result."
Russian Elena Radionova was second with 191.81 points while Japan's Akiko Suzuki finished third with 179.32.Suggest a correction