Japan's consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in April from a year earlier due to declining energy prices, down for the second straight month, the government said Friday.
The core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, stood at 102.9 against the 2010 base of 100, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The fall, following a 0.3 percent drop the previous month, was prompted by continued declining of energy prices, which plunged 12.6 percent from a year earlier in April, with gasoline prices dropping 16.0 percent and electricity fees down 9.9 percent.
The core CPI for Tokyo's 23 wards in May, seen as indicator of nationwide prices, dropped 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 101.7, declining for the fifth straight month.
With Japanese central bank's goal of raising the inflation rate to 2 percent further away, market speculation on additional monetary easing policy has been on the rise.