Japan\'s consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in more than four years in July, pushed up largely by higher energy costs, according to the latest data. The reading, which excludes volatile prices of fresh food, was up 0.7 percent from a year earlier, the biggest rise since November 2008, according to the internal affairs ministry. It follows a 0.4 percent increase in June, the first rise in 14 months. The ministry also said the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent in July from 3.9 percent in June. The latest numbers are positive for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pledged to reverse 15 years of deflation with active spending which he says will stoke growth. There are early signs that Abe\'s policies may be having an effect but higher prices in July largely stemmed from higher electricity bills and gasoline prices. Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda unleased a huge monetary easing programme in April and set a two-percent inflation target to be reached in as many years.