Japan Inflation Hits 4% in December, Highest Since 1981

Japan’s core inflation climbed to 4% on an annualized basis in December last year, the highest level since December 1981, fueled in part by higher energy bills, government data showed on Thursday.

Price increases accelerated in December following a 3.7% increase in November, while official figures from the ministry of internal affairs put annual inflation in 2022 at 2.3%.

Monthly consumer price indexes climbed 0.2% in December, unchanged from the prior month.

The data came out days after Japan’s central bank decided to keep its ultra-easy monetary policy in place, despite most of its counterparts around the world have raised rates in response to rising prices.

While this figure is significantly higher than the Bank of Japan’s long-standing inflation target of 2%, it is still considerably below the still sky-high levels that have generated concern in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere.

According to official statistics, the acceleration in December was caused by higher prices for a variety of processed foods, as well as increases in the cost of utilities like electricity and gas.