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TOKYO: Japan’s annual core consumer inflation topped the central bank’s target for a second straight month in May, data showed on Friday, highlighting the intensifying pressure on the country’s fragile economy from soaring global raw material costs.

The data challenges the Bank of Japan’s view that the recent rise in prices is temporary, and does not warrant withdrawing monetary stimulus.

But with wage growth subdued, many analysts expect the BOJ to remain firmly focussed on stimulating a sluggish economy rather than fight inflation with interest rate hikes.

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