The Bank of Japan will refrain from changing its "yield curve control" program while speculation continues to swirl that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will call a snap election, according to a former board member.

"It’s going to be pretty tough” for the bank to raise rates in July, former board member Makoto Sakurai said in an interview Tuesday, adding that economists and market-watchers may also have underestimated the central bank’s continued concern about the financial sector. "The BOJ will probably keep watching developments at least until around the third quarter.”

If the prime minister goes to the polls early, Sakurai sees an election in September as more likely than in the summer given the setback for Kishida of having to fire his son over party photos at the prime minister’s official residence.