(Bloomberg) -- Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda is apparently becoming more confident on the outlook for inflation based on his recent comments, according to a former BOJ executive director who finished her term last month.

“The words he chose or used were a little bit surprising,” Tokiko Shimizu, the former director, said Wednesday in her first media interview since finishing her four-year term on May 10. “I think they have some good discussion at the monetary policy meeting regarding the next action. There’s such confidence — must make him speak louder.”

At his post-decision press conference Friday, Ueda was asked if a rate hike in July would be possible even as the central bank plans to detail plans for quantitative tightening at the same meeting. The governor responded with “of course,” adding it would depend on data. Shimizu noted that it was slightly unusual for Ueda to use a phrase conveying such certainty. 

“At this current stage, we have a little bit better figures, especially for the service inflation yesterday,” she said. “So that figure probably makes them more confident to raise rates.”

Shimizu said she sees a chance of a rate hike this year. 

“Of course I don’t know exactly what that discussion was” at the June meeting, Shimizu said. “But if there is a chance to make such a clear statement by the governor, he needs to have more confidence about the discussion at the board.” 

Market speculation over a July rate hike cooled after the central bank said it would wait until that meeting to unveil a detailed plan for reducing bond buying. Combining the start of QT with a rate hike is too much in one go, in the views of some BOJ watchers.

Even so, Ueda has repeatedly flagged the risk of a rate hike next month. With bond buying no longer a policy tool and separate from deciding policy rates, there is “a good chance” for the rates to go up from a current settings of 0 to 0.1% if economic data allow, the governor said Tuesday.

Shimizu is known as someone who broke glass ceilings after becoming the first woman to take various senior management roles at the BOJ, including branch manager in 2010. She joined the bank in 1987. She ranked 56th in Forbes’s rankings of the world’s 100 most powerful women last year, one of only three Japanese on the list. 

Shimizu is currently an external director at Toyota Industries Corp., part of the Toyota Group.

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