Tokyo stocks closed higher Friday in choppy trade as the finance ministry vowing to take action to address the yen's rapid rise against the US dollar helped take the edge off the yen's recent surge and saw some risk appetite return to investors.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 71.68 points, or 0.46 percent, from Thursday to end the week at 15,821.52, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange gained 15.05 points, or 1.18 percent, to close at 1,287.69.
As the U.S. dollar sank to fresh 17-month lows versus the yen overnight, Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso said Friday that his ministry was eyeing currency moves with "tension" and would take "necessary steps" to quell excessive fluctuations and what the government has described as "one-sided" currency moves.
He added that shock moves in currency exchange rates were undesirable and could have adverse affects on markets and the economy.
Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nobuteru Ishihara echoed Aso's views in a press conference Friday, and while the tone from the finance ministry suggested a possible intervention if the yen continued to rise, economists said a foray into currency markets ahead of a Group of Seven summit to be held here in May was unlikely.
Local brokers noted that while the yen regained some lost ground after the ministers' remarks, Nikkei heavyweight Fast Retailing, owner and operator the Uniqlo chain of clothing stores, tumbling 13 percent after slashing its net profit forecast, dragged the broader market down.
Stocks that made notable gains on the last trading day of the week comprised glass and ceramic products, machinery, and fishery, agriculture and forestry-linked shares. Advancing issues outpaced declining ones by 1,388 to 464.
The day's turnover was 2,579.8 billion yen (23.74 billion U.S. dollars).