(Bloomberg) -- Governor Kazuo Ueda reiterated the Bank of Japan’s intention to raise its benchmark interest rate if underlying inflation rises toward its 2% target, in remarks that appeared carefully tuned to avoid fueling further yen weakness after the currency hit a fresh 34-year low versus the dollar.  

“If the price trend rises toward 2% in line with our outlook, we will adjust the degree of monetary easing and, in that case, it will mean raising the short-term interest rate,” Ueda said in response to questions in parliament Tuesday. “We don’t have preconceptions related to the specific timing and magnitude of any changes.”

By not emphasizing the BOJ’s standing assessment that financial conditions will stay accommodative for now, Ueda managed to avoid further denting the yen days ahead of a policy meeting where he’s expected to keep policy settings steady. With almost all BOJ watchers predicting no move on Friday, the focus will fall on any hints about what’s next. Most analysts forecast a move by October.

Ueda’s reiteration of the importance of the inflation outlook is likely to bring greater attention to the bank’s quarterly economic report, which will be released along with the policy statement. Ueda said that a change in the price outlook and the assessment of risks to the inflation scenario could be a factor in any policy shift. 

Read more: Inflation Mindset Taking Root in Japan Boosts Case for BOJ Hikes

After the bank ended its massive monetary easing program last month by saying the inflation target has come into sight, the bank is widely expected to raise its inflation projections this week. It will take into account a rise in oil prices and the strongest results of annual wage talks between unions and companies in decades. In a previous report in January, the bank said the risks for its inflation outlook are “generally balanced.” 

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