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Gains in Japan’s key consumer prices failed to accelerate toward the Bank of Japan’s target in December, highlighting the ongoing weakness in the economy’s inflation pulse in stark contrast to its global peers.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food rose 0.5% in December from a year earlier, with cheaper household appliances and smaller gains in hotel prices outweighing the impact of higher energy costs, the internal affairs ministry said Friday. Economists had expected a 0.6% gain.

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