On the 25-year yen chart, we see a consolidation pattern between 1998 and 2008.
But most importantly, the yen had a strong rally starting with the financial crisis and continuing until the fall of last year. Overall, this rally represents an increase relative to the dollar of ~60%.
This rally also belies several standard thought process that would indicate a massive debt/GDP ratio (Japan's is now over 200%) and incredibly easy monetary policy would lead to a large drop in the yen's value. Instead, Japan's political stability has led investor's to view the island as a safe haven in a time of extreme danger.