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The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has no plans this year to pressure employers to stop making regular pay hikes during this spring’s labor-management wage talks because business conditions have improved in recent months, a final draft of the federation’s negotiating policy report showed Thursday.

“Most companies hold wage talks with the focus on maintaining regular pay hikes,” the nation’s top business lobby said in the report, indicating its willingness to reverse its stance on the matter.

In its report for last year’s “shunto” wage negotiations, Keidanren said it would consider encouraging companies to freeze regular wage hikes while the economy attempts to recover. This year it is softening its stance because earnings, particularly at big companies, have improved.

As for criticism that companies begin the recruiting process for university graduates too early, the business lobby plans to urge member companies to delay the start of recruitment to Dec. 1 from October to shorten the process.

Traditionally, undergraduates start job hunting in autumn during their third year, more than a year before graduation.

Many companies open their websites around October, partly to register students for recruitment-related seminars.

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