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Monthly industrial output slightly better in Japan

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan industrial output rose slightly in October from the month before, though deflation persisted and the job market remained bleak.

The government reported Friday that industrial output rose 1.8 percent in October from September, though it fell 4.3 percent from a year earlier. Consumer prices were flat at 0 percent, but that was an improvement over the previous month's minus 0.1 percent.

The news comes as the ruling Democratic Party of Japan faces a strong challenge to its policies from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party in a Dec. 16 election. LDP leader Shinzo Abe contends much stronger action is needed to help pull the economy out of the doldrums.

October data showed no improvement in labor conditions, with unemployment unchanged at 4.2 percent and the ratio of jobs available falling.