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Japan's factory output rises 2 percent

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's industrial production rose 2 percent in May from April, the fourth straight monthly increase, while core consumer prices were unchanged from a year ago.

Factory output, a closely watched indicator of this export-oriented economy, was driven by increased production of general purpose and electrical machinery, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.

But compared to a year ago, the industrial production index declined 1 percent, and manufacturers project a 2.4 percent drop in June, suggesting that the economy is still struggling to gain traction.

The numbers come amid a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revive Japan's long-stagnant economy through massive monetary easing and public works projects.