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Japanese merchant sentiment fell to a six-year low in January as stagnant wages forced consumers to crimp spending, the government said Friday.

The Economy Watchers index, a survey of barbers, shopkeepers and others who deal with consumers, fell for a 10th month to 31.8 in January from 36.6 in December, the Cabinet Office said. A number below 50 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

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