The Japanese yen soared yesterday to its highest level in 10 weeks on continuing concern over the Russian economic crisis and verbal intervention from Japanese finance officials. The yen strengthened almost three yen to 134.88 yen against the US dollar, from 137.7 in New York on Wednesday. In early US trading, the yen was at 134.73. The yen has risen steadily from its lows below 140 yen last week as the Russian crisis worsened. Since August 19 - two days after the rouble was devalued - the yen has risen 4.2 per cent against the dollar. Last Friday, the yen closed at 141.75 yen but the scale of the collapse in Russia has forced several investors, particularly hedge funds, into difficulties and prompted them to unwind short yen positions. 'In the few weeks leading up to the rouble devaluation on August 17, investors were in 'get out of Asia mode' which extended to the yen, as well as commodity-linked instruments such as the Russian rouble,' JP Morgan head of currency research Avinash Persaud said. 'In the few weeks after the rouble devaluation, investors have shifted into 'get out of risk mode'. This has been very supportive for the yen.' Yesterday, Vice-Finance Minister for International Affairs Eisuke Sakakibara added more fuel to the yen's rise by warning that investors holding large foreign exchange positions were taking a significant risk and that Japanese investors should be concerned if they hold foreign-denominated assets. 'In the past they have been hurt by thinking little of such risks,' he said. His comments were echoed by Haruhiko Kuroda, director-general of the ministry's international bureau, who said the correction of the 'excessive' weakness of the yen had begun but was still not yet complete. 'We are ready to intervene at the appropriate time in an appropriate manner when necessary,' Mr Kuroda said. The dollar sank against the yen after the comments, in what was also a difficult day for the currency against the deutschemark, slipping to a new nine-month low. Analysts said repatriation of the yen by Japanese financial corporations, ahead of the end of the fiscal first half this month, would further help the currency, but longer-term indications still pointed to a much weaker level for yen. Economists pointed to data yesterday showing a 3.4 per cent year-on-year drop in household spending in July, indicating that recent fiscal expansion initiatives had failed. 'As we pass the half-year threshold, those forces [supporting the yen] will subside,' said Claudio Piron, treasury economist at Standard Chartered. 'By the end of the year we see the yen at 155. The regional fundamentals pressurising the currency are still there.'