Industrial output in January fell 0.8 percent from the previous month, the first drop in six months, with production in the transport equipment and chemical sectors shrinking, government data showed Tuesday.

With several economic indicators suggesting that private spending has been tepid, a downturn in output may provide another headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, which has been aiming to beat chronic deflation by boosting domestic demand.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, however, kept its basic assessment unchanged as output rose on a year-on-year basis, saying industrial production shows signs of improving.