The use of electronic commerce by individuals in Japan rose 64.8 percent in 2003 from the previous year to a total value of 4.42 trillion yen, according to a government report.

The sharp increase is attributable to the further spread of broadband-based communications and increased efforts by businesses to use the Internet for marketing, according to the report compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and other entities.

By category, business transactions based on mobile communication equipment grew 2.4 times over the previous year to 777 billion yen, reflecting the increasing popularity of third-generation mobile phones, it said.