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Originally published Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:19 PM

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Japan deflation persists, business spending down

Japan said Friday that its chronic deflation persisted in January, with consumer prices falling 0.2 percent from a year earlier, though the employment situation showed a modest improvement.

The Associated Press

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TOKYO —

Japan said Friday that its chronic deflation persisted in January, with consumer prices falling 0.2 percent from a year earlier, though the employment situation showed a modest improvement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December vowing to end Japan's long ordeal with deflation, or falling prices, that tend to discourage business investment and weaken growth. So far, there are scant signs of any progress in achieving a new official inflation target of 2 percent.

Among other mixed signals, the government reported that non-financial corporate investment dropped 8.7 percent in the final quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, the first such decline in five quarters, as weak exports cast a pall on business sentiment.

The government said unemployment declined to 4.2 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December.

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