Japanese consumer prices rose in June at their highest annual pace since November 2008, a sign perhaps that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is slowly winning its fight to end two decades of deflation and boost prices in the world's third largest economy.
Japan's core consumer price index, which excludes volatile food prices, rose 0.4 percent year-on-year, turning positive after a flat reading in May.
It was the first time in 14 months that consumer prices have risen. The figure came in just above the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters for a 0.3 percent increase.
"The inflation numbers are going in the right direction, so the BOJ is probably going to be pleased," said Bank of Singapore's Chief Economist Richard Jerram.
The BOJ unveiled an aggressive monetary stimulus program in April to meet a 2 percent inflation target over a two-year horizon.
Its plan to pump $1.4 trillion into the economy by the end of 2014 has helped weaken the yen, which is in turn helping push up inflation. Japan's currency has weakened about 15 percent against the dollar so far this year.
(Read more: Weak yen? Think again)