Japan's central bank on Thursday left its vast monetary easing programme unchanged and boosted its assessment of the economy, using the word "recover" for the first time in more than two years.
"Japan's economy is starting to recover modestly," the Bank of Japan said in a statement after a two-day policy meeting.
The comment was seen as a notch stronger than its previous statement that the "economy has been picking up".
The BoJ said the domestic economy has been improving, with brighter corporate and consumer spirits encouraging spending, thanks to the central bank's aggressive monetary easing steps.
"With regard to the outlook, Japan's economy is expected to recover moderately on the back of the resilience in domestic demand and the pick-up in overseas economies," the BoJ added.