Annual Wage Talks in Japan Go into Full Swing

Economy

Tokyo, Jan. 24 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, held a forum meeting with the labor side in Tokyo Tuesday, marking the full-fledged start of this year's "shunto" wage negotiations.

While sharing the view that wages need to be raised amid soaring prices, the labor and management sides are not on the same page over the methods and levels of pay increases. Attention is being paid to how many companies will carry out wage hikes exceeding inflation as sought by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, analysts said.

This year's shunto labor-management talks represent "a critical juncture and phenomenal opportunity for achieving a virtuous cycle of wages and prices," Masakazu Tokura, chairman of Keidanren, the biggest group of employers in Japan, said.

A wage hike by each firm "will help maintain and strengthen the momentum of the whole country," he added.

Meanwhile, Katahiro Yasukochi, chief of the Japanese Association of Metal, Machinery and Manufacturing Workers, or JAM, composed mainly of labor unions at small manufacturers, said, "We'll seek pay scale hikes commensurate with price increases," noting that the wage gap between large and smaller companies is widening.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press