[TOKYO] Japanese consumer prices fell 0.1 per cent in September year-on-year, official data showed Friday, keeping open the possibility of more stimulus by the central bank.
The fall in core inflation, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, came after the world's third largest economy in August suffered the first price decline since 2013.
The fall was slightly better than economists' expectations for a 0.2 per cent decline.
Consumer price inflation fell 0.1 per cent for the second straight month after dropping to zero in July as weak domestic demand and plunging energy prices wiped out the boost from a government stimulus programme.
The latest inflation data underscored the mounting challenges to a campaign led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the central bank, who have pledged to lift Japan out of deflation.
The indicator could be key to the BoJ's decision on whether to unleash more stimulus after a meeting later in the day.
The central bank's 80 trillion yen (S$932.7 billion) annual asset-buying scheme - similar to the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing scheme to pump money into the economy - is a key pillar of Abe's growth blitz, dubbed "Abenomics".