TOKYO (AP) - Japan's economic recovery remained in the doldrums in September, as inflation edged lower and unemployment ticked up.

TOKYO (AP) Japan's economic recovery remained in the doldrums in September, as inflation edged lower and unemployment ticked up.

The data were released Friday, as the Bank of Japan held a monetary policy meeting. The central bank faces pressure to increase stimulus to support growth as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weighs approval of a sales tax hike next year.

Core inflation, excluding volatile food prices, was at 3.0 percent, down from 3.1 percent in August. Unemployment rose to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent.

Abe and the central bank have sought to spur inflation as a way of encouraging consumers and businesses to spend more and thus support faster growth.

But a sales tax hike in April, from 5 percent to 8 percent, slowed the recovery that began in late 2012.