Amari wants wage talks with bigwigs

JIJI

Economic revitalization minister Akira Amari revealed Sunday that he plans to open talks with national labor and management representatives on how to convince companies to raise wages.

Amari said on a TV program that improved corporate earnings resulting from “Abenomics,” the moniker for the yen-weakening, deflation-busting plans of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, could lead to a hike in base salaries and regular wage increases. He said some companies had gone as far as increasing bonus payments.

While sales of luxury cars and jewelry have started expanding on the back of a recent rally in stock prices, the government believes it necessary to raise wages in order to achieve a full-fledged recovery in consumption.

Amari told reporters later that he hopes the proposed three-way talks will also serve as a venue for discussions on employment system reforms, saying that it would be desirable if problems facing management are discussed frankly so that a consensus will be reached.

The economic revitalization minister said he is currently coordinating with Abe on the details. In February, Abe asked business leaders to increase wages but they remained reluctant.

Amari also said that the government is considering drafting measures to further spur corporate capital spending, indicating that specifics will be announced by Abe in early June together with other additional steps that will form a core part of the government’s new growth strategy.