Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked business leaders to agree to pay hikes in next spring’s “shunto” wage talks as the Japanese economy struggles to beat chronic deflation.
It is the fourth straight year that Abe has made the request to company executives. Despite years of efforts under his “Abenomics” policy mix, Abe, who took office in 2012, has yet to fully create a virtuous cycle of wage growth and robust consumer spending in Japan.
“I hope to see wage hikes that would be at least on a par with this year,” Abe told a meeting held at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo attended by business leaders.
“I’d like to ask for pay-scale increases,” Abe said.
One of the participants, Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation of Keidanren, which represents Japan’s largest companies, said “we hope to keep the momentum for pay hikes.”
However speaking to reporters, Sakakibara struck a cautious note about making a “strong” request to Keidanren member companies to consent to pay-scale hikes, but indicated raising bonuses is an option to realize an increase in annual income.