Tokyo inflation eases as subsidies take effect

New data shows inflation in Japan's capital eased for the first time in more than a year as government subsidies kicked in.

Government officials say consumer prices for everything except fresh food rose by 3.3 percent in February, year-on-year.

That's a sharp decline from January, when inflation was one point higher at 4.3 percent.

The drop reflects the impact of government subsidies for household energy use, which caused electricity bills to fall by 1.7 percent. That's the first decline since July 2021.

Gas bills were more than 20 percent higher, but that was still down from January.

Government officials estimate the subsidies were almost entirely responsible for the difference between January and February.

But, the cost of food continues to be a source of concern. Prices of non-fresh foods shot up by 7.8 percent. That's the biggest increase since August 1976.