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Japanese firms expected to raise bonuses for first time in three years

Kyodo

Japanese companies may raise summer bonuses this year by 1.6 percent from a year earlier to an average ¥364,000, marking the first increase in three years, Mizuho Securities Co. said Wednesday.

The company cited improved business confidence due to the yen’s depreciation and a surging stock market amid growing hopes related to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” economic policies.

A large number of companies are expected to raise bonuses in response to the Abe administration’s request for wage hikes to help overcome deflation.

But the forecast average is still far below the ¥400,000-plus levels before the 2008 global financial crisis hit.

“Bonuses are likely to rise at large companies whose earnings are expected to improve,” Mizuho Securities market economist Kenta Ishizu said. “But no major increases can be expected at small domestic demand-oriented firms that are not in a position to benefit from the yen’s depreciation.”

Ishizu also said sustainable wage growth cannot be expected at present.