• Reuters

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Winter bonus payments by Japanese companies for 2020 are set to fall 8.55% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since the global financial crisis in 2009, a survey by Nikkei newspaper showed on Wednesday.

The drop would exceed the 5.37% decline in summer bonus payments, according to the Nikkei, showing how the strain on corporate profits from the coronavirus pandemic is spreading to households.

Japanese companies typically pay bonuses in the summer and winter, which tend to fluctuate more than base salaries as they reflect changes in profits and the health of the economy.

Nearly 90% of the companies that cut bonus payments cited worsening business conditions, according to the survey based on figures from 514 mainly listed firms.

Travel restrictions and social-distancing policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have hammered airlines, restaurants and other service-sector firms, pushing Japan’s economy into its deepest postwar slump in April-June.

The economy is starting to revive as companies resume business, but many analysts expect any recovery to be modest due to a recent resurgence in infections.

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