Japan consumer prices rose 2.8% in August

Prices for consumers in Japan rose in August at a rate not seen in nearly 31 years. Officials at the internal affairs ministry say companies are passing on the effects of soaring energy costs and a weak yen.

The ministry says the consumer price index, excluding fresh food, climbed 2.8 percent in August from a year earlier. Excluding the effects of consumption tax hikes, Japan has not seen that level of increase since the early 1990s.

The government and the Bank of Japan have set an inflation target of 2 percent to pull the country out of deflation. August was the fifth straight month the figure exceeded that mark.

Overall energy costs soared 16.9 percent.
Electricity bills jumped 21.5 percent and gas prices went up 20.1 percent.
Shoppers also paid 4.1 percent more for food, excluding fresh items.