Japan's core consumer prices rose for the first time in over a year in January due to a pickup in energy costs and private consumption, offering some hope for the central bank's efforts in accelerating inflation to its 2 percent target.
But household spending slumped in January even as the job market tightened further, underscoring the fragile nature of Japan's economic recovery.
The core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.1 percent in January from a year ago, government data showed on Friday, posting the first increase since December 2015.
It compared with a median market forecast for a flat growth and followed a 0.2 percent drop in December.
A separate index that excludes the effect of energy and fresh food prices, but includes processed food costs, was up 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier, the government said.