Tokyo stocks jumped 2.20 percent on Friday, driven by a weaker yen after the frontrunner to become Japan's next prime minister said he would push for aggressive monetary easing by the central bank.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed 194.44 points higher at 9,024.16 while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares rose 1.88 percent, or 13.83 points, to 751.34.
Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, tipped to become prime minister after December 16 polls, called Thursday for "unlimited" easing by the Bank of Japan, and vowed to strike a deal with it over further measures if he wins.
The comments from Abe, who is seen as business friendly, pushed the yen down on speculation of further easing, which tends to weigh on currencies.
But the yen gained some ground in later afternoon trade Friday amid growing doubts about whether he could force a deal on the central bank, which is independent from government.
"Hopes for a change in political regime to the more traditionally business-friendly LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) and a more aggressive BoJ easing policy continue to fuel the current rally," Monex market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama told Dow Jones Newswires.
"But there is only so much more it can go based on hope alone."
Abe, a former prime minister, is expected to unseat Yoshihiko Noda and his Democratic Party of Japan as the ruling party's fortunes sink in opinion polls.
Hopes that further easing would inject new life in the slowing Japanese economy, the world's third-largest, helped the Tokyo market buck losses on Wall Street and in Europe's main indexes.
The rise came even after Tokyo downgraded its assessment of the Japanese economy for the fourth straight month, underlining fears about the country nudging toward recession.
Canon rose 5.80 percent to 2,697 yen, Honda Motor climbed 5.11 percent to 2,591 yen, Nissan jumped 5.12 percent to 738 yen and Panasonic climbed 4.05 percent to 411 yen.
Kirin Holdings eased 2.21 percent to 969 yen on news that the brewer would sell its minority stake in Singapore's Fraser & Neave and then offer about $2.17 billion for the conglomerate's food and beverage business.
In forex markets, the dollar changed hands at 80.95 yen, down from 81.16 yen in New York on Thursday, but up from the 80.20 yen level a day earlier.
The euro bought 103.28 yen, down from 103.69 yen in US trade, while it fetched $1.2756 against $1.2778 in New York.