Japan Post said Monday it will start selling customized photo stamps Sept. 1 to try to promote postal mail amid a steady rise in e-mail traffic.

Post offices across Japan will accept a 4-cm-square printed photo for use on the stamps. One sheet of 10 stamps priced at 80 yen each will cost 1,200 yen.

In a promotion at a Tokyo hotel, actress Ryoko Yonekura asked people to write more letters, saying, “Handwritten letters look more personal.”

Japan Post expects the sales of customized photo stamps to reach 1.5 million sheets, or 1.8 billion yen worth, this fiscal year.

Japan Post issued a stamp featuring an original photo attached below an ordinary stamp in April 2003. It decided to start printing personal photos as stamps after several customers requested it.

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