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Asia Minute: Bigger paychecks are coming to Japan

Japan Honda LG
Koji Sasahara
FILE - The logo of Honda Motor Co., is seen in Yokohama, near Tokyo on Dec. 15, 2021.

It's been about 30 years since workers at Honda got a raise this big in their base pay.

Toyota workers are getting their largest raise in about two decades.

Toyota wouldn't put a percentage on its deal, but Honda said overall wages will rise by about 5%.

Earlier this month, Nintendo's president announced employees' pay will go up by 10% starting in April — even though the company expects a dip in revenue and profit in the year ending at the end of March.

All of these announcements have come out before the results of the annual negotiations between Japan's largest employer groups and its biggest unions.

The umbrella group for the unions, Rengo, is calling for a wage increase of 5%.

That's a bit higher than Japan's current consumer price inflation, running at a 41-year high of 4%.

But the numbers also tell a broader story.

Jiji Press reported that Japanese executives are worried about an outflow of workers from Japan, where the average pay is lower than in locations from South Korea to Europe and the United States.

It quoted Hisashi Yamada of the Japan Research Institute who said companies “worry that young and excellent personnel may be snatched by foreign firms.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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