• Kyodo

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The average winter bonus paid to company employees in 2012 fell 1.5 percent from the year before to ¥365,687, marking a record low for a fourth year in a row, the labor ministry said Tuesday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry traced the lowest bonus since the survey began in 1990 to the strong yen associated with the European sovereign debt crisis, which dealt blows to export-oriented companies, particularly manufacturers.

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