• Kyodo


Monthly wages fell for the first time in 13 months in March as rolling blackouts shortened working hours in greater Tokyo, the labor ministry said Monday.

The average monthly wage declined 0.4 percent to ¥274,886 compared with a year ago, the ministry said

Wages at companies with at least five employees had been improving before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated the Tohoku region and sent the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into a crisis, triggering the blackouts.

“Companies are in the process of recovering from the confusion in the wake of the quake disaster, but we will continue to watch developments because there may be areas and sectors that would be impacted by it in the days ahead,” an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

According to the ministry’s preliminary data, scheduled wages, which center on basic salary, dropped 0.9 percent to ¥243,425, with a decrease most pronounced in such sectors as restaurant, health care, welfare and education.

Overtime working hours fell 2.0 percent to 10.1 hours for the first drop in 15 months.

Overtime working hours in the manufacturing sector, seen as a key economic indicator, dropped 0.8 percent to 13.9 hours, the first drop in 16 months that translated into a 6.8 percent decrease from February.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.