The under-pressure Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui has fuelled speculation of an imminent interest rates rise, stressing that the bank's policy steps should be implemented "without delay".
Speaking at the National Press Club in Tokyo, Mr Fukui said: "We need to implement policy steps without delay, and changes should be made in small increments."
The "policy steps" referred to were assumed by most to be a reference to the decision of whether or not to raise interest rates for the first time in six years.
Interest rates have remained at near zero per cent for that period of time.
The markets reacted quickly to the comments, seen by some as a precursor to an imminent interest rates rise, with the yen up against the dollar.
There had previously been concerns that Mr Fukui's unstable position at the head of Japan's central bank would delay the move to raise rates, however the governor's comments appear to have quelled those worries.