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With pause in inflation, many brace for retreat

TOKYO -- After notching up 0.1% gains for two straight months, Japan's core consumer price index remained unchanged on the year in January, prompting speculation of prices receding in the near future.

     Also announced Friday, the CPI for Tokyo's 23 wards, considered a leading indicator for the rest of the country, fell 0.1% for February. Both the national and Tokyo indexes exclude fresh foods, whose prices are known to be volatile.

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