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In yet another sign that deflation may be dead, the nationwide core consumer price index, excluding volatile perishables, grew 0.1 percent in December for the second straight month, the government said in a preliminary report Friday.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry also released the core CPI for Tokyo’s 23 wards, showing it climbed 0.1 percent to 96.5 in January — its first rise since August 1998. Consumer prices in Tokyo are seen as the leading indicator of prices throughout Japan.

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