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[TOKYO] Japan's retail sales fell more than expected in May in a third straight month of annual declines, data showed on Wednesday, keeping policymakers under pressure for more stimulus to support a fragile economic recovery.
Retail sales fell 1.9 per cent in May from a year earlier, more than a median market forecast for a 1.6 per cent declines, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.
The weak reading underscores the relative fragility in Japan's economy, with slow wage growth and gloomy prospects of recovery weighing on household spending.
The market turmoil in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union adds to headaches for Japanese policymakers worried about the drag the yen's recent rises could have on exports.
"Uncertainty and risks remain in financial markets," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting held Wednesday morning with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to discuss financial market developments.