The yen rose to three-year highs against the euro and the pound on Tuesday as concerns over the upcoming referendum on Britain’s European Union membership sent investors scrambling to buy safe haven assets.
EUR/JPY fell to lows of 118.52, the weakest since January 2013 and was last at 118.62, down 1.11% for the day.
GBP/JPY dropped 1.29% to 149.46, the lowest level since August 2013.
Market sentiment has been hit by fears over the prospect of a British exit from the EU, or Brexit, ahead of the June 23 referendum.
Investors fear that a Brexit could trigger a period of uncertainty in financial markets and hit growth in the region.
The yen has strengthened broadly in recent days as a number of opinion polls showed that the EU referendum race is tightening ahead of next week’s vote.
A poll conducted by YouGov for The Times newspaper published late Monday showed that the Leave campaign held 46% support compared with 39% support for the Remain camp. Undecided voters totaled 11%.
An ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper found that 53% supported the Leave campaign compared with 47% support for remaining.
Meanwhile, data from betting odds supplied from Betfair on Tuesday indicated that the implied probability of a Remain vote fell to 59%, down from 78% last week.
Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday reiterated a warning against fresh strength in the yen, saying officials would "firmly respond” to prevent speculative moves in the foreign exchange market from persisting.
Aso also said he would closely watch the Brexit referendum next week, given its potential to disrupt global financial markets.
The yen was trading at almost six-week highs against the dollar, with USD/JPY down 0.44% at 105.78.
The traditional safe haven Swiss franc was near three-month highs against the euro, with EUR/CHF falling 0.47% to 1.0836.
The single currency fell to one-and-a-half week lows against the dollar, with EUR/USD down 0.73% at 1.1210.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.55% at 94.94.