Japan's inflation up in April but at slower rate than before

Consumer prices in Japan rose in April but at a slower pace for a second-straight month. A major factor was food prices rising moderately following steep gains.

The internal affairs ministry says the consumer price index was up 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

The gauge excludes volatile fresh-food prices, which fluctuate based on the weather.

The CPI reading has now been below 3 percent for eight months in a row.

The internal affairs ministry says food inflation is beginning to moderate. Non-fresh items rose 3.5 percent last month, down by 1.1 points from March.

The officials also noted more expensive accommodation and other services.

They say they will closely watch to see if recent wage hikes lift labor costs.