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Activity in Japan’s tertiary industries grew 2 percent in fiscal 1999 over the previous period for the first year-on-year rise in three years, according to a preliminary report issued Monday by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The officials attributed the growth to strong sales in the communications and financial sectors.

The annual index of tertiary industry activities reached 104.2 against the 100-point benchmark based on 1995 levels.

The 18 percent rise posted by the communications sector was due largely to cellular phones, while active stock trading aided the financial sector’s climb to 9.8 percent growth, the report says.

Despite fragile sales and bleak outlooks for the retail and wholesale sectors, which declined 1.7 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, during the period, other service sectors in the category are expected to improve further.

With the help of increased activity in the tertiary, mining and manufacturing sectors, the index of all industrial activities, including primary ones, grew 1.9 percent to 101.7 — the first rise in three years.

In March, the index of tertiary industry activities rose 1.5 percent from the previous month to 105.2, with all the sectors — including service, transport and communications, retail, wholesale and restaurants, finance and insurance, real estate, and utilities — boosting sales.