The Bank of Japan may raise its benchmark interest rate as many as three more times this year, with the next move potentially coming as early as June given how much room there is to adjust its "excessively” easy settings, according to a former BOJ chief economist.

"It may sound extreme, but it’s fine if it takes place in June,” Toshitaka Sekine, the economist, said in an interview Wednesday, referring to a rate hike. "There’s no need to conclude that there won’t be one.”