Japanese household spending edged up 0.3 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the first increase in 16 months, official figures showed yesterday.
Average monthly spending stood at 285,530 yen (US$2,970), up 0.3 percent from a year earlier in real terms, the internal affairs ministry said.
It was the first increase since a 3.6 percent rise in January 2008. The spending went flat in February 2008 and then fell for the following 14 months.
The ministry said it was too early to say whether the latest data indicated that Japanese consumption was finally picking up after the worst recession since World War II.
"We still can't judge with data for a single month. It may have benefitted from (fine) weather," one ministry official said.