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Years after Japan made a cautious recovery from its long deflationary spell, the world’s third-largest economy may be headed back into a cycle of falling prices as the coronavirus threatens a deep downturn and policymakers struggle for options.

A return to deflation would be a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has touted an end to stagnation as a key success of his Abenomics stimulus policies deployed in December 2012.

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