Many things in Japan have been lower than those in other G7 countries for a very long time: interest rates, inflation, bond yields, crime and unemployment too. However, the job-to-applicant ratio dropped too, to 1.59 from 1.61 in June, suggesting that over the medium-term unemployment may stop falling. Despite these encouraging numbers, retail sales also fell, by 2.3 per cent across the board in the month to July and by 4.8 per cent at large retailers, one of the biggest drops since 2009. Tokyo inflation, excluding fresh food (which is their preferred measure) dropped to an annualised 0.7 per cent even as an increase in sales tax looms in October.
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