Nikkei gains 0.8%
Japan's Nikkei 225 clinched a second multi-year closing high, ending the day at its highest level since June 2000 and in sight of the 20,000 milestone. The dollar-yen back above the 120 handle helped sentiment.
"USD/JPY is underpinning gains for the Nikkei, which is flirting with the 20,000 barrier. The last time the Nikkei was trading above 20,000 was back in April 2000 and needless to say, a break of this level will represent a significant psychological feat," Stan Shamu, IG's market strategist, wrote in a note.
Helping to prop up the bourse were exporter stocks; Sony notched up 2.7 percent, while Nissan Motor jumped over 4 percent after SMBC Nikko Securities hiked its rating to "outperform" from "neutral" citing likely strong sales.
Heavyweights like Fast Retailing and Fanuc also swung up 1.9 and 1.1 percent, respectively.
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South Korea's Kospi index closed flat after touching a more than 5-month high earlier in the session, as the Bank of Korea (BOK) kept interest rates steady at 1.75 percent as expected.
Index heavyweights were lackluster across the board; Posco and KB Financial Group slumped 1 and 2.5 percent each, while Samsung Electronics settled 0.3 percent higher in choppy trade.
After announcing plans of a merger on Wednesday, shares of Hyundai Steel and sister company Hyundai Hysco fell nearly 2 percent each.