Spending on travel within Japan logged a year-on-year increase of 0.4 percent in February, marking the first such rise in five months, the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said Friday.

According to a recent survey of 50 major travel agencies, spending on domestic trips reached 246.9 billion yen in the reporting month, the ministry said.

Spending on overseas travel, however, marked a sixth straight monthly fall at 138.7 billion yen, down 25.9 percent from a year earlier.

The size of the decline was about half the record 52.1 percent plunge recorded in November, which stemmed from the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

The ministry said the increase in domestic travel was particularly notable in Okinawa.

Travelers had been refraining from visiting the southernmost prefecture after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks due to the heavy U.S. military presence there.

Group tours, including pregraduation student excursions, also rose.

The U.S. has yet to bounce back as the favorite destination for overseas travel, but China has attracted a considerable number of tourists, the ministry said.

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