• Kyodo News

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The annual “shunto” wage negotiations started in earnest Wednesday, with labor unions at major automakers including Toyota Motor Corp. submitting their demands to management.

Unions at major electronics makers and other industries will do likewise Thursday. Most firms plan to respond to the demands March 16.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) has stopped short of seeking a uniform pay-scale hike but urged companies to accept an overall 1 percent rise in total salary, saying the economy has been on a recovery track.

But management has appeared reluctant to meet the request, saying people are worried about future growth, so a wage hike wouldn’t lead to an increase in consumer spending, a major driving force of the economy.

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