TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's underlying inflation rate was 0.7 percent in April, slowing from the previous month amid a smaller contribution from energy prices, government data showed Friday.
The year-on-year change in the core consumer price index, which excludes fresh food prices because of their volatility, stayed positive for the 16th straight month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
But the pace of gains slowed from 0.9 percent in March, underscoring the challenge the Bank of Japan faces in achieving its 2 percent inflation target even with aggressive monetary easing.
The result was slightly weaker than market forecasts of an around 0.8 percent increase.
The "core-core" CPI, which excludes both fresh food and energy prices, rose 0.4 percent from the previous year.