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Major companies agreed to raise monthly wages by ¥7,096, or 2.12 percent, including base wage increases, on average in this year's shuntō labor-management negotiations, according to Keidanren's final survey, released on Monday.

The average growth topped 2 percent for the seventh straight year since the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started to call on businesses to raise pay in the 2014 shuntō, but the 2020 results were the weakest in the seven years. In the 2019, pay hikes among major companies averaged ¥8,200, or 2.43 percent.

The slower growth came as the trade friction between the United States and China fueled concerns over an economic slowdown.

The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic was limited, with most companies having concluded this year's wage negotiations by the end of March, according to officials of Keidanren, the biggest group of employers in Japan also known as the Japan Business Federation. Still, the epidemic is likely to affect the levels of bonuses and make the course of next year's negotiations uncertain.

This year's wage growth decelerated from the previous year at 12 of the 17 industries covered by the survey, standing at 2.19 percent for shipbuilders, down from 2.72 percent, at 1.30 percent for steelmakers, down from 1.77 percent, and at 2.27 percent for automakers, down from 2.62 percent.

The rate of increase increased to 2.28 percent from 1.68 percent for retailers and wholesalers, and to 2.60 percent from 2.24 percent for hotel operators.

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