Japan Consumer Prices Hit 41-Year High

By Megumi Fujikawa

TOKYO-Japan’s consumer prices excluding fresh food rose 4% from a year earlier in December, reaching a 41-year high, government data showed Friday.

That was faster than a 3.7% increase in November and marked the highest level since December 1981. It was the ninth consecutive month that inflation exceeded the Bank of Japan’s 2% target.

The result is likely to add to market expectations for another policy change by the Japanese central bank. Earlier this week, the bank decided to maintain its cap on the yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds at 0.5% after it surprised the market in December by raising the ceiling to that level from 0.25%.

In a sign of growth in core inflation, consumer prices excluding fresh food and energy prices rose 3.0% from a year earlier in December, compared with November’s 2.8% increase.

Write to Megumi Fujikawa at Megumi.Fujikawa@WSJ.com

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