• Kyodo News

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The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has endorsed a committee report recommending that employers grant regular pay raises to employees at this spring’s wage talks in view of improving corporate earnings.

The upcoming negotiations between labor and management will focus on the maintenance of regular wage hikes, according to the report by Keidanren’s Committee on Management and Labor Policy.

But the committee also pointed out that companies need to place greater emphasis on maintaining jobs rather than raising wages.

Last year, the committee called for freezing or curbing annual pay increases.

Yoji Ohashi, chairman of All Nippon Airways Co., who chairs the committee, said Monday that Japanese firms are “at a crossroads” in the face of global competition and stressed the need for labor and management to discuss corporate growth strategies, including wage levels.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) wants total payments to both full- and part-time employees — including wages, allowances and welfare benefits — to be raised by 1 percent over last year, but the report called the demand “extremely difficult.”

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