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Japan's household spending declines

dpa logodpa 28/04/2017 Takehiko Kambayashi

Japan's government is struggling to revitalise long-term economic growth, the latest figures show.

Japan's average household spending slipped 1.3 per cent year-on-year in March for the 13th straight month of falls, the government said Friday.

The government also reported inflation-adjusted monthly wages fell 1.4 per cent from a year earlier to 445,607 yen ($US4,014 dollars) in March for the first decline in five months.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has struggled to revitalise long-term economic growth amid sluggish consumer spending and stagnant wages.

The country's industrial production fell 2.1 per cent in March from the previous month for the first drop in two months, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

The decline was steeper than the average estimate of a 1.0 per cent decrease by a Nikkei business daily survey and followed a 3.2 per cent rise in February.

Consumer prices rose 0.2 per cent year-on-year in March for the third consecutive month of increase amid higher oil prices, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

But the reading in March was still far off the 2 per cent inflation target set by the Bank of Japan four years ago, when it introduced aggressive monetary easing measures to overcome deflation and prop up the economy.

The central bank said on Thursday it predicts the country's consumer price index would rise 1.4 per cent, down from the 1.5 per cent increase forecast three months ago.

The ministry also reported on Friday that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.8 per cent in March from the previous month.

The number of employed persons nationwide stood at 64.33 million in March, an increase of 690,000 or 1.1 per cent from the same time the year before, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the availability of jobs, measured as the ratio of job offers per job seeker, edged up to 1.45 in March from 1.43 in February, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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