Japan reports its inflation rate eased slightly in June as a sales tax high stunted demand.

The government reported Friday that the core consumer price index, which does not include prices for fresh foods, rose 3.3 percent in June, down from the 3.4 percent in May.

But factoring out surging energy prices, such as a 10.6 percent rise in gas prices, the increase was 2.3 percent.

Excluding the direct effect of the April 1 increase in the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent, the inflation rate was 1.3 percent, the Bank of Japan says.

It has set a 2 percent inflation target, aiming to break Japan out of years of deflation, but forecasts that the rate will remain just above 1 percent for the foreseeable future.