Most Asian stocks fell on Thursday but Tokyo was in positive territory after the government intervened in the currency market to curb the yen's rise.
Tokyo stepped in as the yen edged towards its record post-war high against the dollar, with Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda saying the stronger the currency got the worse the impact would be on the ailing Japanese economy.
"If the moves continue, it could negatively impact the Japanese economy and financial stability when Japan is making various efforts to reconstruct itself from the impact of the disaster," Noda told reporters, referring to the March earthquake and tsunami.
"Therefore we carried out currency intervention. Now we will watch market movements closely."
The yen started to fall shortly after 0100 GMT, and by 0800 GMT the dollar had risen sharply to 79.90 yen from 76.99 earlier.
The Japanese unit also fell against the euro, with the single currency fetching 113.80 yen from an earlier 110.45.
The last time Japan intervened was in March with its G7 counterparts after the yen hit a post-war high of 76.25 to the dollar following the earthquake-tsunami disaster.
Thursday's move came after Noda recently raised concerns about "one-sided" and "excessive" movements in the currency. It also followed an intervention by Switzerland, which stepped in to halt the rise of the franc as investors pour into the safe-haven unit due to concerns over eurozone debt.
Hours later the Bank of Japan said it would expand a scheme to buy government bonds and other securities to work in conjunction with the yen-selling.
The central bank made the move after cutting short its scheduled two-day meeting that was due to conclude on Friday.
The intervention boosted the Nikkei index after two days of big losses. The market closed 0.23 percent, or 22.04 points, higher at 9,659.18, although it ended well off its earlier highs after the intervention.
Most other regional bourses extended losses from the previous two days amid ongoing weakness in the global economy.
Another batch of poor data from the United States, including slowing jobs growth, stoked concerns while the country continues to live under threat of a ratings downgrade, despite Congress agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.
Sentiment was already weak as downbeat figures from around the world pointed to a halt in economic growth, while sovereign debt worries were also fuelling anxiety.
Sydney fell 1.30 percent, or 56.3 points, to 4,276.6.
Seoul slumped 2.31 percent, or 47.79 points, to close at 2,018.47, a third straight loss that has seen the market give up more than seven percent.
Hong Kong fell 0.49 percent, or 107.98 points, to 21,884.74 but Shanghai added 0.21 percent, or 5.55 points, to 2,684.04.
Wall Street also edged higher, with the Dow up 0.25 percent, the S&P 500 climbing 0.50 percent and the Nasdaq 0.89 percent higher. The gains snapped an eight-session losing streak that had seen the Nasdaq and S&P 500 fall below their January 1 levels.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, fell 32 cents to $91.61 per barrel in the afternoon.
Brent North Sea crude for September delivery slipped five cents to $113.18.
Gold closed lower in Hong Kong at $1,663.00-$1,664.00 an ounce, off Wednesday's close of $1,668.00-$1,669.00.
In other markets:
Taipei tumbled 1.65 percent, or 139.59 points, to 8,317.27.
MediaTek shed 5.57 percent to Tw$237.5 while Formosa Plastics Corp was 2.87 percent lower at Tw$91.4.
Manila closed 0.29 percent, or 13.08 points, higher at 4,501.53,
Lepanto Mining soared 8.2 percent to 1.32 pesos, Philippine Long Distance Telephone added 0.1 percent to 2,400 pesos but Energy Development fell 0.9 percent to 6.60 pesos.
Wellington gained 0.24 percent, or 7.96 points, to 3,377.78.
Air New Zealand rose 0.9 percent to NZ$1.17, NZ Oil & Gas was up 1.5 percent at NZ$0.69 but Telecom Corp. slipped 0.4 percent to NZ$2.655.