TOKYO (AP) - Japan's core inflation rate edged lower in January as lower crude oil prices reduced energy costs, while weak retail sales and manufacturing underscored the fragility of its economic recovery.

TOKYO (AP) Japan's core inflation rate edged lower in January as lower crude oil prices reduced energy costs, while weak retail sales and manufacturing underscored the fragility of its economic recovery.

Core inflation, excluding volatile food prices, was 2.2 percent, compared with 2.5 percent the month before and the lowest in 10 months. Excluding energy costs and food, the consumer price index was at 2.1 percent, level with the previous two months.

Unemployment rose to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent the month before.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to spur growth by vanquishing the deflation that discouraged investment and spending over the past two decades. But the economy fell back into recession after a sales tax hike on April 1, 2014. Growth recovered to 2.2 percent in the October-December quarter.