Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and a top union leader amplified their calls for strong wage growth as companies prepare to engage in annual pay negotiations.

"I’d like to ensure that the growth in disposable income exceeds price rises,” the prime minister said at a New Year’s event hosted by Rengo, the nation’s biggest trade union federation. "We will mobilize all of our policies to achieve this goal.”

Tomoko Yoshino, chief of Rengo, said: "This is a critical moment.”