Japan Biz, Labor Leaders Far Apart over Wage Hikes

Economy

Tokyo, Jan. 27 (Jiji Press)--A perception gap between the leaders of a major business organization and the umbrella group of labor unions in Japan over pay hikes turned out to be wider than in usual years, as this year's "shunto" labor-management wage negotiations started in earnest on Wednesday.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, claimed that pay-scale hikes are needed at a time when social and economic environments are changing rapidly due to the spread of coronavirus infections, while the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, expressed its eagerness to put a priority on job satisfaction.

At the opening of the day's meeting with Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi, Rengo President Rikio Kozu said, "The average wage in Japan fell over the past 20-plus years and efforts to overcome deflation and realize a virtuous economic cycle have just begun."

Nakanishi joined the meeting from the hospital where he is being treated using an online system. He had initially planned to skip the meeting.

While sharing a sense of crisis with Kozu over low wage levels, Nakanishi said, "A big theme of this year's shunto will be how to create a working environment that would allow employees to have job satisfaction."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press