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The average monthly pay hike granted in the spring wage negotiations was 1.65 percent, the second-lowest level on record, according to a survey released Thursday by the nation’s most powerful business lobby.

The average wage hike agreed by unions and management at major companies stood at 5,391 yen.

This is slightly above last year’s amount, which was the lowest figure since wage negotiations started in 1956, according to the survey released by the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).

The average monthly wage hike agreed to last year stood at 5,249 yen, an increase of 1.59 percent from the year before.

In the manufacturing sector, the average rose a record-low 1.74 percent, or 5,566 yen, compared with last year’s hike of 1.76 percent, or 5,570 yen.

In the nonmanufacturing sector, the average hike stood at 1.40 percent, or 4,889 yen, compared with last year’s 1.29 percent, or 4,618 yen.

“The system in which no increases are made on the pay scale, just raises in seniority-based wages, has become established,” a Nippon Keidanren official said.

The business lobby sent survey questionnaires to 294 companies in 22 industries, and 185 companies of them provided information on average wage hikes reached via wage negotiations.

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