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Japan core inflation rate turns negative for first time in 3 years

Coronavirus outbreak pushes down prices of oil and hotels in April

A supermarket in Kawasaki, Japan on April 21. The country is on the verge of falling back into deflation.     © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's core consumer prices, a leading indicator of nationwide inflation, dropped 0.2% in April from a year earlier, the government announced on Friday.

The data highlights the challenge the Bank of Japan faces amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to achieve its elusive 2% inflation target.

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