TOKYO, March 29 (UPI) -- Japan's consumer prices fell 0.3 percent year-on-year in February, down for the fourth straight month, the government said Friday.
The country has been battling chronic deflation.
Officials said the fall was due to a decline in durable goods prices, including televisions and air conditioners, Kyodo News reported.
The core consumer price index for February, excluding fresh foods, stood at 99.2 against the 2010 base of 100, the government said.
The country's average monthly household spending, however, increased an inflation-adjusted 0.8 percent from a year before to 268,099 yen ($2,847) because of higher spending on automobiles and communications with the growth of smart phones.
In January, cosumer prices fell 0.2 percent year-on-year.
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it its top priority to lift the economy out of years of deflation through a number of stimulus measures. Recently, Japan's central bank doubled its inflation target to 2 percent as part of that effort.
The stimulus measures have brought down the value of the yen against other major currencies, which should help boost exports, officials said.
The appointment of Haruhiko Kuroda as the new governor the Bank of Japan is expected to lead to more monetary easing to boost the economy. Under his leadership, the BOJ's goal is to achieve a 2 percent inflation target in two years.