The country's most powerful business lobby, Keidanren, said Tuesday that it views basic pay increases across all sectors as "unrealistic" in annual wage talks, as the coronavirus pandemic has hit some firms and industries harder than others.

In guidelines for corporate managers who will engage in wage negotiations with labor unions over the coming months, the lobby, also known as the Japan Business Federation, said companies should be given more leeway this year regarding whether to raise wages, citing the worsening business environment due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, the country's largest labor organization known as Rengo, is set to demand a hike of around 2% in basic pay in forthcoming management-labor wage talks, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the outlook uncertain for businesses.