The Japanese yen rose by nearly half a percent against the U.S. dollar on Friday, in what appeared to be safe-haven buying in the minutes after news that former prime minister Shinzo Abe had been shot.
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The yen rose as far as 135.33 per dollar after news that Abe had been taken to hospital after collapsing while delivering a speech in the western city of Nara, after gunshot-like sounds, according to reports by public broadcaster NHK.
Kyodo News said the former premier, architect of the Abenomics brand of reforms, was unconscious and appeared to be in cardiac arrest.
The euro was pinned at a 20-year low, licking its wounds at the end of its worst week in two months as investors braced for Europe to tip in to recession, while markets awaited U.S. jobs data to set the next direction for the dollar.
The euro is down more than 2 per cent this week on fears that gas shortages loom in Europe and economic growth will suffer. It hit a two-decade trough of $1.0144 overnight and is barely clinging on above parity, last buying $1.0161.
The euro's slide has vaulted the U.S. dollar index to a two-decade high of 107.270 this week, and the index was last just below that level and up 0.04 per cent in Asia at 107.02.
"Europe is exposed to large risks around energy dependency, a cost of living crunch on the consumer, and fragmentation risk. This spells euro/dollar lower," said analysts at Citi.