Japanese households are spending more. Also, three Japanese manufacturers will help build Boeing's next generation passenger plane.
The Japanese government says household spending in the country rose nearly five percent in May from a year ago. It is the seventh consecutive monthly increase.
Spending on telecommunications, transportation, and entertainment increased sharply, but outlays fell for education and medical care. Household spending had contracted for several years during Japan's long economic slump.
Three Japanese companies are pitching in to help develop a new passenger jet.
Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will produce engine parts for more than 1,500 of the Boeing 7E7 planes. They also will take a big role in building the fuselage.
Tokyo aerospace consultant Lance Gatling says the Japanese companies will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the jet, nicknamed the Dreamliner.
"They are going to fund up to 15 percent of the development of the General Electric and Rolls Royce engines for the Boeing 7E7," he said. "They have become, in that sense, an integral part of the commercial aerospace market."
The fuel efficient jet, which will seat between 200 and 300 passengers, is scheduled to go into service in 2008.
A further contraction is expected for Japanese professional baseball. The news comes as a merger is already in the works between the Orix Blue Wave and the Kintetsu Buffaloes.
The owner of the Seibu Lions, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, says four other teams, including his, are discussing a merger of two of the clubs.
Mr. Tsutsumi tells reporters that owners of Pacific League teams can be expected to ask owners in the financially stronger and more popular Central League to merge the two leagues.
While Tokyo University is considered Japan's most elite educational institution it is not considered the country's top school for learning business. That honor goes to Keio University.
In a survey by the Nikkei business newspaper, 53 percent of respondents named the Keio Graduate School of Business Administration as Japan's best.
Ranked second is the Hitotsubashi Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, which teaches all of its daytime courses in English.