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Abe urges business leaders to increase wages

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If you daydream of this wage increase you might want to see the other article about people getting in line for the year end lottery. Odds are better for the lottery.

19 ( +18 / -1 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday stepped up pressure on business leaders to hike wages. Pressure? Just what pressure is he actually giving? I doubt it the kind of pressure Abe gave to the newspapers, for printing truths he didn't like.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

"...... key piece of symbolism ..... "

"I would like you to continue wage increases next year ....."

Guess that says it all. "symbolism" and "would like to" ... this sounds like a "maybe" to me.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ordinary people are not spending and trying to hang onto whatever cash they have or make. What makes Abe think corporations are different? Whatever they make they are going to keep because they, like the ordinary citizen don't see a bright future and don't want to see expenses rise. Besides, in this tough job market the corporations hold all the cards so what incentive do they have to raise wages? Abe is a bon bon idiot with no clue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My company imports 80% of our goods so costs have gone up by nearly 50% over two years. We've raised prices but have lost lots of distribution due to retailers pushing back and consumers moving to cheaper products. So we're forced to cut costs and people just to stay afloat. That makes it difficult to raise wages. How about the government cut costs and wasted spending then lower taxes.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Pure kabuki drama and no substance. Typical zaibutsu nonsense. First break the bond of government-business- banks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Haha, Abe says please and the economy is just supposed to fix itself. If he thinks anyone is going to fork out more cash after a tax hike, I have some beachfront property I'd like to sell him.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just like last year , the only increases will be given to public servants and employees of the top 50 or so companies mainly in export & finance. Mid size and small business squeezed by the falling yen are unable to increase wages much. So the increases will be to the same employes who are already relatively well off and the rich / poor gap is just gonna keep widening.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'll send the company president anoher email to remind him to increase my wage..

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Panasonic is expected to make $1.6 billion profit for 2014, but they lost $10 billion in 2013, $7.5 billion in 2012, $3 billion in 2011, a $1 billion loss in 2010, $4.2 billion for 2009, and so on.

Many companies may have seen profits in 2014, but when you subtract the debt many of these companies have accumulated over the last decade, it is obvious that will need several years of strong profits just to break even. You can't pay for increased wages with money you don't have.

If Abe wants to raise people's income, perhaps he can start by reducing their taxes?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The biggest benefit for full time workers is a legal protection and retirement benefit. But the number of lifetime jobs has been declining for decades. Problem is that most part time job earn about 40 percent less per hour than full-time positions. Abe should try protect the part time workers. Many of these part-timers often work 40 hours a week. They account for all of Japan's job growth in the past decade. The rise of this part-time economy explains why Japan is the only developed country where the average pay has consistently fallen in the last 15 years. In the Japan’s rigid labor market, temp work is rarely a steppingstone to something better. It’s a permanent, low-wage existence and it's a big problem.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Abe (government) has an easy way to increase the wages - give us some tax relief. This is how many governments around the world do it. A 10% cost saving in government spending could be transferred in tax savings to the public which would stimulate spending (perhaps)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So that's how capitalism works. It just takes one leader's urging to halt the insidious race-to-the-bottom reduction in labour costs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why make Abe thinks companies have cash to spend tp do his politic ? Those selling abroad are crippled by all their income being by definition not receiving VAT since "coming from abroad" and have to advance on their own cash flow 8% local VAT on all their expenses and pray for a refund at the end of the year. Those selling locally are facing the Japanese depressive economy, people have no money to spare so why Abe is keeping telling they are printing and injecting cash, but nobody is seeing this cash, nobody but those in a close ring of the LDP.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All good ideas, all of which will be ignored or discounted by useful idiots who support Abenomics or Keynesian tomfoolery in general.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

sfjp330 Dec. 17, 2014 - 08:25AM JST

The biggest benefit for full time workers is a legal protection and retirement benefit. But the number of lifetime jobs has been declining for decades. Problem is that most part time job earn about 40 percent less per hour than full-time positions. Abe should try protect the part time workers. Many of these part-timers often work 40 hours a week. They account for all of Japan's job growth in the past decade. The rise of this part-time economy explains why Japan is the only developed country where the average pay has consistently fallen in the last 15 years. In the Japan’s rigid labor market, temp work is rarely a steppingstone to something better. It’s a permanent, low-wage existence and it's a big problem.

Problem with equal pay/benifits for equal work in Japan is the business leaders (Keidanren) with whom he was meeting with. They won't have any of it and since they are Juminto's largest contributor next to Nuclear/electric power lobby you're not likely to see any changes in that direction. The government says that it needs to raise taxes to tackle the social welfare programs like retirement and healthcare and your suggestion would do much to help both by making ALL wage earners contribute the pool instead of just the full-timers.

But this simple math equation just doesn't have the support from Keidanren and Abe doesn't have the balls to push it through, unlike some of his pet legislation which he just plowed through in the face of a public opposition. Just shows whose side he's really on.

This was a pony show and nothing more. They signed some pact that said blah, blah, blah which would be implemented in the next round of wage negotiations but who can project what will happen in the future, certainly NOT Abe. Abe got to show he was tackling the problem, so say the J-lame-media.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"(C)ontinue wage increases next year..." Must have missed this year's wage increase.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So let me get this right : the government here can legislate to increase consumption, income and other taxes - and even to REDUCE the corporate tax rates - yet can NOT legislate to link mandatory wage rises to the cost of living ? Perverted - and Mr and Ms Watanabe are going to be continue to be screwed over.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Abe has still the option to give printed money to people so they can spend it if he believes so much in Abenomics, but this will never happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks to Mr. Abe's assault on the domestic economy, my company's sales have fallen nearly 40% in the last two years and our profits have been virtually wiped out by lower domestic spending and rising costs. Normal companies in the domestic economy cannot raise wages because the politician who is busting them "urges" them to.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They can hark back "still waiting for those structural reforms promised"- the key third plank of Abenomics . The economic structure is a mix of pre-war and feudal times- why should serfs expect real incomes.

Government is useless in Japan- they can just manage to spend and tax- anything more impossible.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Problems are depopulation, lack of competitiveness with Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese companies, cost of energy without nuclear

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Citizen 2000,

he can, it happened before. Don't remember when, but we really did get Yen 10.000 as a present ...

.... well, once only, but hell, it was good for a couple of beers!

So hopes (because that's all we have) .... maybe another Yen 10.000 in the near (or far) future??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simple Mssrs. Kuroda and Abe! Just let the real economy decide on a meaningful exchange rate! Earlier this morning I read in the MJ that private sector economists all refer to you as a "government-associated entity" artificially interfering with market dynamics. In the article, they say the current 120:1 USD is equivalent to the 1973 exchange rate of 310 (post-360 de-link after Nixon approved abandoning the gold standard). If so, let the market decide on the rate. If the yen strengthens, then by all means! Let's give the market a raise! They deserve it! Not Blackpatch-Kuroda or Abegeddonomics!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He has been 'urging' companies to increase salaries since he introduced the tax cuts for corporations over two years ago. Urging is not pressuring! It is only suggesting! Pressure comes in the form of legislation and penalties for companies that refuse to pass on their tax cuts as salary increases, but that's never gonna happen. This is only political lip service.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How do you "urge" companies to increase wages and decrease their bottom line?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mmmmmm urges, I have those too but never happen, urge grrrrrrrrr urge, whoops bowel trouble????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The guy has a God complex. He thinks the near-death Japanese economy will fix itself just by his mandate.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't see this happening from the indicators I have seen. For example, the local Seims drug store shuttering two stores to combine into a smaller store and hiring doorknobs that don't know anything about the products they sell. Went into the store last night looking for an Ace like bandage with no adhesive(the kind you wrap an ankle with). After looking as dumbfounded me at all the choices, they have no idea and go and fetch various samples of adhesive for me instead as if I wanted the adhesive separate from the bandage. Ha. Come on my Japanese isn't that bad. Yes, I think they do need to raise salaries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really wish Mr. Prime minister would use some carrots to reinforce his urgings. Here is an idea.

Bracketed tax breaks for corporations who increase their total wages by minimum X% (the higher X is the more the tax break is). And also, increases to the wages of the lower half of the payroll must contribute more to the overall average wage increase too.

Oh and rolling back the consumption tax to 5% would be icing on top. I promise I'll spend so much more money if you do this for us Mr. Abe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The ever present problem with today's Japan is that it can't seem to think forward. This way of wanting to return everythingbto the gool ol' days (economic power, national pride, international importance) won't work for a second. Not today. Japan should start thinking in new, fresh ways, on how it's citizens can get the best way of life possible. That does NOT include higher prices and more spending. Sadly, this nation can't seem to let go of its self-image as a booming economic power that started after the war. In reality, this country is a behemoth, too slow moving and big for it's own good.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about take away their tax reductions if they don't increase their wages? Oh wait...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"How about take away their tax reductions if they don't increase their wages?"

Come now gogogo, 'there's only one way.' That outside the box thinking will not be allowed. Redistributing wealth earned on the back of workers ... heresy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Abe urges business leaders to increase wages" Oh. Somebody help me off of the floor. I can't stop laughing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"How do you "urge" companies to increase wages and decrease their bottom line?"

Easy. Threaten to: 1) Take away their subsidies. 2) Outsource more government contracts to foreign competitors. 3) Hike interest rates.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I love the phrase "labor reform" or "fixing the labor market", or other such calls for deregulation. Because making it easier for companies to shove salaries further has worked so well the last few years. More and more people are part-timers/contract labor with no sense of security, and you think increasing this will help the local consumer open their wallets? Insane. I also appreciate the maddening circle of claims of inability to raise wages because local consumption is weak because their wages are low. Fun times ahead with Abe, to be certain.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just more hot air and photo opportunities. When he came in wages were comparative to the cost of living, energy costs were reasonable and the yen was strong.

Now with the same wages we're paying higher taxes, more for everything in general for a sham policy. I completely lost faith in the people of Japan for following such an incompetent idiot so blindly..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

By asking some business leaders to increase the wages for their employees, Abe is just putting up a show to give an impression to the general public that he is really serious about ordinary people's life. It's all hot air.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He played too many "Simon says" game , Abe urges (or wows) .... to ..... Abe urges business leaders to..... do his job... so he can focus on amending the constitution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe's lip-service will make people hopeful, but the unfortunate reality in the case of full-time employees is most would never demand wage increases or quit and the companies know that. If the employees know the company is doing better they will feel secure in 'lifetime' employment and the company can get away with overworking and underpaying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the end of the day if businesses and government forget that it's all about the people, then it can get from bad to worse very quickly. Tax break, currency manipulation, near zero interest rates by massive bond purchase did help businessess by influencing the stock market but that could end very quickly if foreign investors start dumping massive Japanese stocks. The worst case scenario for Japanese businesses would be huge stock loses with no domestic growth which could very well be the case in about 6 mths. At that point they'll regret that they didn't stoke domestic growth by wage increase back then but it'll be too late. Good luck.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So let me get this right : the government here can legislate to increase consumption, income and other taxes - and even to REDUCE the corporate tax rates - yet can NOT legislate to link mandatory wage rises to the cost of living ? Perverted - and Mr and Ms Watanabe are going to be continue to be screwed over.

You are right, the government cannot link wages to the cost of living. I think North Korea and Cuba are the only places that do that now, since China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union abandoned the practice. Take a look at how the government is managing your tax dollars. How well do you think you would do if they were regulating your pay as well?

The problems we have now are the unintended consequences of state intervention in nearly all parts of our economy. Mr Abe seems to think that Japan should be greater than it is, and it would be if the government would get out of the way and let the people become great. Abe and his predecessors have hurt far more than they have helped. The government is the wagon, the people are the horse, the horse is supposed to pull the wagon, not the other way around. The wagon has gotten in front of the horse, and now neither can move.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Many companies may have seen profits in 2014, but when you subtract the debt many of these companies have accumulated over the last decade, it is obvious that will need several years of strong profits just to break even. You can't pay for increased wages with money you don't have.

You gave Panasonic as an example but your 'accounting' method is something waay out there.

Panasonic's long term debt have decreased substantially from 2010 to 2014. One just needs to look at the statement of cash flow to figure out how those operating losses were covered and in Panasonic case, they do have the 'cash' for increased wage proposal.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

!@MODERATOR how come you allow gogogo's pornographic sign on picture all;; the time everywhere ? Some comment participants might be minors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Panasonic's long term debt have decreased substantially from 2010 to 2014. One just needs to look at the statement of cash flow to figure out how those operating losses were covered and in Panasonic case, they do have the 'cash' for increased wage proposal.

Tell me, is Panasonic still in debt? Yes, or No?

Tell me, how many jobs did Panasonic eliminate in order to balance it's books, nearly 40,000, wasn't it? Tell me, if Panasonic had to reduce headcount (and the resulting payroll) in to help return to profitability, why would they raise wages?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Abe urges business leaders to increase wages

Urging will do nothing Abe. Make them do it. Use your powers for something useful

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tell me, is Panasonic still in debt? Yes, or No?

Yes. But your assumption is that the debt funded for the cumulative losses.

Tell me, how many jobs did Panasonic eliminate in order to balance it's books, nearly 40,000, wasn't it? Tell me, if Panasonic had to reduce headcount (and the resulting payroll) in to help return to profitability, why would they raise wages?

Because it did in 2014.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Here's an idea--make any corporate tax cuts contingent on whether median wages have been raised in that company.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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