Last updated: March 17. 2013 3:09AM - 108 Views

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(AP) Japan's consumer price index fell 0.1 percent in 2012 for the fourth straight year of declines, adding to pressure on the central bank to ease monetary policy as the government presses for an end to deflation.

The government reported Friday that the price index, which excludes fresh foods, also dipped 0.2 percent in December. Although the trend was expected, it likely will add to pressure on the central bank governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, to further ease monetary policy.

The news comes just days after the government and central bank joined in setting a 2 percent inflation target aimed at helping the country emerge from its prolonged spell of falling prices that are thought to be discouraging business investment and stalling recovery for the world's third-largest economy.

Associated Press
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