Asian markets climbed Thursday -- with Tokyo hitting a near six-year high -- following a Wall Street rally, while the yen sank on comments from a Japanese central banker hinting at further monetary easing.
The Japanese currency was sitting around six-month lows against the dollar and a four-year low against the euro.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index surged 1.80 percent, or 277.49 points, to 15,727.12, its highest since mid-December 2007,while the broader Topix index added 1.12 percent, or 13.96 points, to 1,261.04 as exporters benefited from the softening yen.
Kenzaburo Suwa, strategist with Okasan Securities, chalked up Tokyo's rise Thursday to buoyant market sentiment, with foreign investment pouring into Japan's premier exchange.
"There has been risk-taking momentum due to several positive factors, including the yen's decline below 102 against the dollar," he told AFP.
"It would not be a surprise to see the Nikkei top 16,000."
Since January, many well-known Japanese firms have seen big gains, with Toyota shares up about 60 percent to close at 6,390 yen Thursday while Sony stock has nearly doubled to 1,865 yen.
Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing surged about 78 percent to 38,950 yen since January.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged down 17.26 points to 23,789.09 on turnover of HK$63.34 billion ($8.17 billion).
China Resources Power lost 1.60 percent to HK$18.48 and Bank of China slipped 0.80 percent to HK$3.72, while Cathay Pacific Airways climbed 1.69 percent to HK$16.80 and China Coal Energy gained 1.17 percent to HK$5.18.
Chinese shares closed up 0.83 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 18.30 points to 2,219.37 on turnover of 119.6 billion yuan ($19.6 billion).
Seoul rose 0.84 percent, or 16.96 points, to 2,045.77, while Sydney was flat, edging up 1.4 points to 5,334.3.
In afternoon Tokyo trade the dollar was at 102.17 yen, compared with 102.16 yen in New York Wednesday and well up from the 101.50 yen seen in Asia earlier Wednesday.
The euro bought 139.10 yen compared with 138.71 yen in New York, sitting at highs not seen since June 2009. It also fetched $1.3605 compared with $1.3576.
On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was down one cent at $92.29 in afternoon Asian trading. Brent North Sea crude for January rose 12 cents to $111.43.
Gold fetched $1,241.77 per ounce at 1045 GMT compared with $1,252.73 on Wednesday.
In other markets:
-- Bangkok fell 0.99 percent, or 13.66 points, to 1,359.45.
Coal producer Banpu was up 0.84 percent, or 0.25 baht, to 30.00 baht, but energy giant PTT Plc dropped 1.02 percent, or 3.00 baht, to 292.00 baht.
-- Jakarta slipped 0.41 percent, or 17.56 points, to 4,233.93.
Mobile phone service provider Telekomunikasi Indonesia jumped 1.18 percent to 2,150 rupiah, while Bank Permata slid 2.96 percent to 1,310 rupiah.
-- Kuala Lumpur gained 9.14 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,807.60.
YTL Power International added 0.5 percent to 1.94 ringgit, while Axiata Group rose 0.6 percent to 6.70. Financial firm CIMB Group Holdings lost 0.1 percent to 7.59 ringgit.
-- Manila surged 1.92 percent, or 116.09 points, to 6,169.96.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone increased 1.77 percent to 2,650 pesos, while SM Prime Holdings was boosted by 1.26 percent to 16.02 pesos, and SM Investments advanced 2.47 percent to 748 pesos.
-- Mumbai climbed 0.56 percent, or 114.65 points, to 20,534.91.
Private Suzlon Energy soared 8.76 percent to 9.93 rupees while engineering giant Bharat Heavy Electricals rose 3.04 percent to 150.85 rupees.
-- Singapore added 0.45 percent, or 14.31 points, to 3,186.37.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation rose 0.58 percent to Sg$10.50, while Singapore Airlines gained 0.38 percent to Sg$10.53.
-- Taipei rose 0.80 percent, or 66.55 points, to 8,362.43.
Leading chip design house MediaTek climbed 1.52 percent to Tw$435.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was unchanged at Tw$105.0.
-- Wellington edged up 0.21 percent, or 10.10 points, to 4,809.46.
Auckland Airport added 1.6 percent to NZ$3.47 and Air New Zealand climbed 2.1 percent to NZ$1.67, while Fletcher Building slipped 0.8 percent to NZ$9.15.