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.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police last week confirmed that a body discovered buried in a cemetery in Kanagawa Prefecture is that of a 25-year-old woman who went missing two years ago. Police are now attempting to locate her son, reports the Sankei Shimbun (June 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Japan's traditional kendama ball-and-cup toy has been reborn as a new sport and is attracting attention around the world. Professional players demonstrate their highly sophisticated techniques on Internet video sites, and a world championship event was held last year featuring the first monetary prizes to be awarded for kendama in Japan. (The Japan News)
Police in Sapporo said Friday they have arrested an 18-year-old youth on suspicion of killing his 51-year-old father. - See more at: http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/18-year-old-youth-arrested-for-killing-father#sthash.HiHL4HwN.dpuf (Japan Today)