More adults read at least one book last year, but the number of books they read and the time they spent reading them have dwindled.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Tuesday, the proportion of adults who read more than one book a year rose from 66.8 percent in 2011 to 71.4 percent in 2013. Magazines, comics and periodicals were not included.
But the average adult read just 9.2 books last year, down from 9.9 in 2011, and spent 23.5 minutes a day during the week, slightly down from 25.9 minutes in 2011.
The rise in the proportion of adult readers may be partly due to campaigns encouraging people to read more books, the ministry said. Use of public libraries rose from 22.9 percent in 2011 to 30.3 percent last year.
But as people tend to prefer fiddling with their smartphones in their spare time, the number of books read and the time spent reading them decreased, it added.
The statistics are based on a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults between Nov. 16 and Dec. 10.