Japan's consumer confidence in December dropped 1.2 points from the previous month, local media reported Friday. According to the Cabinet Office, the seasonally adjusted index of sentiment based on households made up of two or more people was down to 41.3, mainly caused by the planned sales tax hike in April. Readings below 50 indicate pessimists outnumber optimists. The government also downgraded its basic assessment of the index, saying consumer sentiment is "leveling off," while noting last month that it is "on an improving trend." Of all the index's four components in the reporting period, consumers'near term readiness to buy new durable goods was down 3. 1 points to 40.0, while that of assessment of livelihoods and income growth slid 1.5 points and 0.6 point separately. In contrary, only consumers' view of employment conditions saw a slightly upturn, which rose 0.1 point to 48.2. The survey was conducted on Dec. 15, covering 8,400 households. About 5,682 households responded.