Let’s discuss summer bonuses

This week’s featured article


Summer bonuses at major companies fell 4.56 percent to ¥917,906 ($8,300) on average from last summer, posting the first drop in five years, the Japan Business Federation said in a preliminary report.

The business lobby, also known as Keidanren, attributed the drop to a strong yen last summer that negatively affected the revenues of export-reliant companies.

Labor unions’ preferences for a hike in base pay rather than other compensation also affected the trend, it said June 10.

Though the drop is expected to dent consumer spending, the amount is the fourth-highest since comparable data became available in 1959, according to the business lobby.

Major companies “are keeping the ¥900,000 level for the third consecutive year, which is an extremely high level,” a Keidanren official said.

Major manufacturers settled on an average payment of ¥926,561, down 4.69 percent, and the agreed amount for nonmanufacturers is ¥638,119, down 0.12 percent.

Of 11 major industries, five, including food and steel, agreed to pay higher bonuses than last summer. Those that decided to trim the amount included the ship-building, automobile and electrical machinery industries.

The averages were based on responses received from 82 of the 252 major companies that have at least 500 employees and are listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The business lobby will release its final report in late July.

First published in The Japan Times on June 10.

Warm up

One-minute chat about companies.


Collect words related to bonuses, e.g., money, work, extra.

New words

1) preliminary: something that comes first to introduce the main part, e.g., “They will have a preliminary meeting today.”

2) attribute: to indicate a reason, e.g., “He attributed his success to hard work.”

3) compensation: payment, e.g., “The company can’t afford to offer employees good compensation.”

4) dent: weaken, e.g., “The extra costs have made a dent in the budget.”

Guess the headline Summer bonuses at major firms f_ _ _ for first time in f_ _ _ _ years


1) What does Japan’s business lobby Keidanren consider to be the reason for the fall in summer bonuses?

2) How does the situation of this year’s bonuses compare to the past?

3) How much on average can employees of major manufacturers expect for this year’s bonus?

4) Which industries agreed to pay higher bonuses this summer compared to last year?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Has your bonus been going up for the last five years?

2) Will the drop/hike of your bonus this year affect your spending?

3) How do you expect your winter bonus will be?

4) Would you rather have your base pay rise or your bonus?


企業に勤める多くの人にとってボーナスは 大きな関心事でしょう。

本人の能力や経験がベースとなる基本給と 異なり、会社の業績や世の中の経済状況が 大きく影響するボーナスは、日本社会の経済的な潤いを顕著に表すものといえるかもしれません。



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