Japan consumer price index up in August, mainly driven by food, energy costs

TOKYO - Japan's consumer price index rose 0.8 per cent in August from a year earlier in its fastest increase in five years, though prices excluding food and energy were slightly lower, the government said Friday.

August's rise in the CPI, the main inflation benchmark, compares with a 0.7 per cent increase in July.

The government said that excluding food and energy costs, which have been pushed higher by the weaker yen's impact on imports, the CPI fell 0.1 per cent from a year earlier, the same as the month before. Including all data, it rose 0.9 per cent.

The inflation data still show slow progress toward a target of 2 per cent inflation by early 2015, set by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as part of his strategy for reviving growth. Economists say wage increases are needed to drive demand and push prices higher.