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Wage increases offered by Japanese companies to labor unions so far in shuntō spring negotiations averaged 1.81%, or ¥5,563, per employee, according to the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo.

Rengo President Rikio Kozu explains about wage negotiation results during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | KYODO
Rengo President Rikio Kozu explains about wage negotiation results during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | KYODO

The combined average increase in base wages and regular pay as of Friday, shown in Rengo’s first tally of wage hike offers for the 2021 talks, was the slowest since the Japanese government began urging companies to raise wages in 2014, apparently reflecting a cautious stance adopted by many companies toward raising wages amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The average increase was down 0.1 percentage point from the 1.91% rise logged when Rengo put together its first wage hike offer tally for the 2020 shuntō.

“While the (latest wage increase) figure reflected impacts of the pandemic to no small extent, it was also a result of negotiation efforts toward not stemming the tide of pay hikes,” Rengo President Rikio Kozu said at a news conference on Friday, showing expectations that many labor unions of small companies will win pay hikes in their negotiations with the employers’ side, which will come into full swing later this spring.

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