TOKYO (AP) — Japan's consumer prices rose in September for the fourth straight month on higher energy prices.

The government reported Friday that the core consumer price index, which excludes food, was up 0.7 percent, compared with 0.8 percent in August.

With food prices factored in, the index was up 1.1 percent.

The government is striving to end a long bout of deflation through aggressive monetary easing and hefty spending on public works projects.

But economists say much of the increase in prices in recent months has been due to the impact of higher costs for imported food and energy as the Japanese yen has weakened as a result of the monetary easing.

Excluding food and energy costs, the index was flat, the first time since 2008 that measure has not fallen.