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The average monthly wage at Japanese companies, including overtime, stood at 280,001 yen in April, down 0.4 percent from a year earlier, marking the first decline in three months, the labor ministry said Monday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry attributed the decline to an increase in the proportion of part-time workers in its preliminary report.

The average regular wage at companies with at least five workers dropped 0.7 percent to 260,901 yen, marking a drop for the 22nd consecutive month.

But average nonregular pay, including overtime pay, rose 3 percent to 19,100 yen, up for the ninth straight month, indicating that companies are continuing to have regular employees clock in more hours and not hiring as many new workers.

Average overtime hours at manufacturers, the benchmark for business activity, increased 11.1 percent to 15.0 hours, up for the 12th straight month, compared with rises of 14.4 percent in March, 15.8 percent in February and 18.9 percent in January.

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