Japan's factory output in February contracted 0.1 percent from January, official data showed on Friday, marking the first month-on-month fall since November.
Separate data showed Japanese consumer prices slipped 0.3 percent last month from a year earlier, underscoring stubborn deflation, while the jobless rate inched up to 4.3 percent in February from 4.2 percent in January.
The numbers come ahead of a Bank of Japan policy meeting next week as its new governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, talks up his plans to stoke the world's third-largest economy and reverse years of falling prices.
His vow to beat deflation, a mantra led by his boss Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has stoked speculation the BoJ will launch a new wave of aggressive policy measures that tend to weaken the yen, helping the country's exporters.
Deflation is bad for the economy because it encourages consumers to put off spending in the belief their intended purchases will be cheaper in the future, softening demand and hurting producers.
Japan's overall economic picture remains unsteady. But the nation squeaked out of recession in the last quarter of 2012 with modest growth that, analysts say, would provide a foundation for a strengthening economy.