Japan's big manufacturers signal tentative willingness to hike wages

By Yoko Kubota and Maki Shiraki

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Very good news indeed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh, thank you, master, thank you. When a company is sued for the death of an employee caused by overwork, it might, just might, be time to show some appreciation for workers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What about allowing people to take holidays?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What about allowing people to take holidays?

Ok, now you're just asking for too much! Next thing ya know, you'd be asking days off for your baby! Teh shame!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is it just me, or are most of the examples in this article signals that most companies are NOT willing to raise base wages. For example, the survey quoted above showing that only 5% of companies would even consider it.

I think it will happen sooner or later with a few of the big exporters who are sitting on truckloads of cash, but as for the rest of them, I think it's going to take a lot more positive news before things change.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm going to go the other way here, and say that while it is a good start, it is not the workers of the big companies who need the salary increases. They already have a job for life, and twice yearly bonuses, equal to a couple of months salary, that poorer families can only dream of.

The people who need to be raising their wages are the blue collar jobs - the ones where the guys work every day and night, overtime unpaid, no bonuses, for however many sen-yen a day, in construction, in ramen shops, and in "contract jobs" with low chance of renewal.

But its exactly that area where salaries will not be raised. The rich executives at Mitsubishi will become richer, and the poor will become poorer. What about NPOs? How are they supposed to raise their salaries?

How about raising the minimum wage instead? I think that would be a fairer option across the board.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As much as I hope it will, it wont happen, this isn't the 80's anymore, Japanese companies are not Japanese companies they are global companies, they can't just look at the Japan market they need to cover other countries as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Time will tell whether this " tentative" willingness to raise wages will last. My guess is in the best case a handful of the biggest exporters will go ahead with it to stay on good terms and get brownie points with the govt. and Bank of Japan but just as likely if there is any economic hiccup anywhere in the world , it will be quickly used as an excuse to sit on the sidelines and " wait & see ".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Up to now, everywhere in Japan we’ve done nothing but persevere and do without,” the automaker’s president Osamu Masuko

I bet you haven't

I think tentative is the key word here. The headline and the article don't seem to match. A better headline may be 'we want to raise your wages but we can't please everyone, therefore we have decided to keep a lot of the profits ourselves and give some to shareholders.'

The latest Labor Ministry data showed that regular pay, which excludes overtime and bonuses, declined for a 15th month in a row in August by 0.4%, to 241,131 yen.

And there is the truth. Not rising but declining. A bonus is not a wage, it can be cut or taken off you at any time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

how about a corporate tax break of 5% for companies that raise base wages by over 4%? Win, win. This will motivate companies to (a) raise wages (b) increase profits.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So, we all know what 'tentative willingness' means. It means they will agree to it until they get their tax cuts and then they will say, "What chu talkin about Willis?" I work for one of these large Japanese companies and we asked them if we will get salary increases inline with the tax cuts. There answer was, "There will be no salary increases. We will use the dividends to make it a better company." In other words, they are just gonna pocket it and share it between the share holders, as will nearly every other company.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Under Abenomics, companies are given tax breaks, offset in part by consumption tax hikes dealt to consumers. Then, increased cash in the company coffers is theoretically supposed to trickle down to workers/consumers in the form of higher wages.

Unfortunately, other than some dividend increases for equity investors, I don't see much trickle down on the horizon in the form of higher wages for the rank and file, particularly given the Reuters survey mentioned in this article.

But a recent Reuters corporate survey found that only 5% of respondents would use the additional savings to raise wages

2 ( +2 / -0 )

pochan, a bonus is not a wage, true. They are often written into the employees contract though, so while they can be reduced its very hard to cancel them altogether, unless you do something catastrophic, or the company is about to go under. Most Japanese home owners have an extra payment at bonus times, and companies know this. Bonuses are very rarely cancelled.

An average summer bonus is a around 2 months salary, an end of year about 3 months. That is a heck of a lot of money to not take into account. Especially when you consider many workers will not even earn 241,131 a month, and still dont have a bonus.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Since most manufacturing workers who need raises the most are now low-wage, no-benefits, no-vacation, part-time workers from "dispatch" companies, they won't be seeing any raises.

The people who need raises the least, the zombie salary oyajis and top executives, will be getting any money, if it happens at all. You'll see.

In the famous words of G.W. Bush: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, uh, uh, you won't get fooled again.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It doesn't matter in what form, bonus or base salary increase, the important thing is to spread the wealth and change the consumer sentiment and behavior. Hopefully the Japanese consumers will get the message and run with it. If the Japanese don't help their own economy, then who will?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kimuzukashiiiii, not sure where you got your information, but I know lots of people who have either had their bonuses reduced greatly, or completely cut. And no the company wasn't going under, they just claimed that due to difficult business conditions, they couldn't make the bonus payments. There was nothing the workers could do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

darnnameNov. 04, 2013 - 05:55PM JST Since most manufacturing workers who need raises the most are now low-wage, no-benefits, no-vacation, part-time workers from "dispatch" companies, they won't be seeing any raises.---------------------------------------------------------------

Exactly right. The whole employment system in Japan is a disgrace. Employers just want to employ people part time without any benefits enjoyed by other workers in civilised countries at a miserable 800 yen or so hourly rate. Out of that, they have to pay in to the pension fund which is just another tax in disguise. Is it any wonder that 30 year olds have to live with their parents.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Abenomics trying to dictate companies to raise the wages. Looking more like fascism. The axe is going to drop on Apr 1st, and it won't be a joke.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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