[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened 0.61 per cent higher on Thursday after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen reiterated an interest rate hike remained likely this year as the economy improves.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose 125.65 points to 20,588.98 in the first few minutes of trading.
In semi-annual testimony to US lawmakers, Ms Yellen repeated the position taken at the last meeting of the Fed's policy-setting committee for a rate hike "at some point this year" if the economy "evolves as we expect".
On currency markets, the euro stood at US$1.0953 compared with US$1.0947 in New York late Wednesday.
The unit rose to 135.67 yen against 135.51 yen in US trade, while the dollar also firmed to 123.91 yen from 123.79 yen.
US stocks finished modestly lower Wednesday, after violent protests outside the Greek parliament revived anxiety about the eurozone as Athens seeks to clear hurdles towards securing a bailout.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 3.41 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 18,050.17.