Year-on-year, cost of food rose at a faster 2.7 percent, accelerating from a 1.7 percent growth in January. While prices of transportation and communication fell 2.1 percent after a 2.4 percent decline in the previous month.
Additional upward pressure came from: clothes and footwear (+2.5 percent); culture and recreation (+2.2 percent); education (+1.8 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (+0.7 percent); furniture and household utensils (+0.6 percent); and medical care (+0.6 percent). By contrast, cost of fuel, light and water charges dropped sharply by 7.3 percent and housing prices fell by 0.1 percent.
Excluding fresh food items, consumer prices were flat while the so-called core-core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, rose to 0.8 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.1 percent compared to a 0.4 percent drop in January.
In Tokyo, consumer prices decreased by 0.1 percent year-on-year in March. Core consumer prices, which exclude fresh food, fell 0.3 percent, the biggest decline in almost 3 years, matching drop in April 2013.