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Carmakers cite Abe in bonus pay decisions

Kyodo

Major automakers fully accepted their unions’ bonus requests for fiscal 2013 on Wednesday amid growing expectations of earnings recoveries on the back of the yen’s depreciation, while electronics makers told their unions they would maintain regular seniority-based wage increases.

Some electronics makers also offered increased bonuses on the peak day of wage talks, with Hitachi Ltd. offering a bonus equivalent to 5.35 months’ wages.

Five major domestic automakers — Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. — fully accepted their unions’ bonus requests, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. did so for the first time in 16 years.

The pay increase offers underscore an improvement in employment conditions in the nation’s manufacturing sector at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, dubbed “Abenomics” and centering on bold monetary easing and massive fiscal spending, have fueled hopes of an economic revival.

Toyota offered an average bonus of ¥2.05 million to its employees, up ¥270,000 from the previous year’s payout and exceeding ¥2 million for the first time in five years.

Toyota Managing Officer Naoki Miyazaki said Abe’s economic policies are “one of the important elements that made (Toyota) decide” on the bonus payout.

Nissan made a bonus offer equivalent to 5.5 months, up 0.2 month from the previous year, while Honda offered 5.9 months, up 0.9 month.

Among electronics makers, Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. are expected to increase their bonuses under a system that automatically sets the amount of bonus payouts in accordance with their earnings. Mitsubishi Electric Corp., meanwhile, offered a reduced bonus.