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The average pay of corporate employees fell 0.1 percent in July from a year ago to 395,879 yen for the first decrease in six months, according to a government report released Wednesday.

A rise in the number of new young employees is believed to be behind the fall as they tend to make lower wages, officials at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

Companies, encouraged by strong earnings. are now boosting employment of young people.

Excluding overtime, regular wages dropped 0.2 percent to an average of 252,997 yen, while special payments such as bonuses fell 0.4 percent to 123,481 yen, the ministry said in a preliminary report covering businesses with at least five full-time employees.

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