Japan is escaping deflation, the government said on Friday as data showing rising prices, falling unemployment, higher incomes and factory activity gathering momentum pointed to an ongoing recovery in the world's third-largest economy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan have gambled on massive fiscal and monetary stimulus to spark life into the economy, and the accumulating signs of an upswing are seen strengthening the case for a planned sales tax increase.
Friday's data painted a brightening picture for a country seeking to escape 15 years of debilitating deflation: core consumer prices posted their biggest rise in nearly five years, unemployment fell to its lowest since late 2008, factory output rose and is expected to rise further, and workers' incomes rose.
"Japan is escaping from deflation," Economics Ministers Akira Amari told reporters.
Pessimists have argued that the benefits of "Abenomics," a three-pillar strategy of fiscal and monetary stimulus combined with a long-term growth strategy, may be short-lived and won't prompt companies to spend more on investment and wages.
And while the rise in prices has been driven largely by higher electricity bills and a weaker yen that has pushed up import costs, the job market strength and rising incomes bode well for personal consumption, which has been a key driver of the recovery.
Japan criticized China's official Xinhua News Agency on Friday for having demanded an apology from Emperor Akihito over Japan's wartime acts, saying such a claim was "extremely discourteous to His Majesty the Emperor." (Kyodo)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to be reelected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party as early as Sept. 8, as no one apparently plans to challenge him, it was learned Thursday. (Jiji Press)
A bogus smartphone tip spreading through tweets is causing a headache for the National Police Agency as users have been tricked into dialing the emergency number 110 in at least 22 prefectures. (Japan Times)
An American man arrested earlier this month in connection with the death of a Japanese woman whose body was found off the coast of Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, is expected to face another arrest warrant shortly, this time for killing the woman, an investigative source said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Koji Yamada, the 45-year-old man who was arrested in Osaka Prefecture last week for abandoning a girl's body, was questioned by police in Tokyo before committing the alleged crime, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Police raided the headquarters of Japan's largest yakuza syndicate Yamaguchi-gumi on Tuesday after 14 workers at a waste disposal plant in Kobe, western Japan, became sick after treating waste from the building early this month. (Japan Times)
Toyama Prefectural Police on Tuesday arrested a 56-year-old woman for allegedly dumping the body of her father outside their home in Takaoka City. Investigators are now working to apply murder charges, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Aug. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)