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Japan's consumer prices rise 1.3 pct

TOKYO, April 25 (KUNA) -- Japan's core consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.3 percent in April from a year earlier for the 10th straight month of expansion chiefly due to higher prices of energy and certain home appliances, the government said Friday.
The increase of core CPI, which excludes volatile fresh foods, maintained the same growth pace since December, after picking up from 1.2 percent in November, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The gain was largely attributed to rising gasoline and electricity prices, the ministry said. Japan's energy costs rose in the wake of the weaker yen and growing need for fossil fuel to substitute for nuclear power generation following the March 2011 radiation crisis in Fukushima.
The ministry also said prices of overseas package tour also pushed up the core CPI. For the whole of fiscal 2013 through March 31, the core measure rose 0.8 percent on the year, marking the first rise in five years since fiscal 2008, when it marked 1.2 percent.
Robust domestic demand also contributed to the price increase, as consumers were on a spending spree ahead of the planned sales tax hike on April 1, from the 5 percent to eight percent. Meanwhile, Tokyo's consumer prices jumped 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase in 22 years.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration has placed a priority on revitalizing the world's third-largest economy by beating prolonged deflation that has lasted for nearly 15 years.
Abe has promoted ambitious economic policies dubbed "Abenomics," which focus on drastic monetary easing by the Bank of Japan (BOJ), massive government spending and growth strategy. In April 2013, the BOJ launched an aggressive monetary stimulus to achieve the 2 percent inflation target in fiscal 2015. On April 17, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said central bank's monetary policy will contribute to a rise in inflation expectations, adding that the country is making continuous and steady progress to reach the BOJ's price target.
Kuroda also said the pace in consumer price growth is likely to stay at the lower one percent level for the time being, excluding the direct impact of the consumption tax hike. (end) mk.tg