Many Japanese Biz Leaders Sound Eager to Raise Wages

REUTERS file photo
A general view from Tokyo Tower is seen of the city of Tokyo, Japan, August 6, 2021.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Many Japanese business leaders sounded eager to raise wages Thursday ahead of this spring’s “shunto” labor-management wage negotiations, as rapid price hikes are hitting workers.

At a New Year’s party hosted by the country’s three major business groups, Lawson Inc. President Sadanobu Takemasu showed his readiness to realize a pay hike outpacing inflation.

“As we’re asking consumers to pay higher prices, it’s our responsibility to raise wages more than that,” said Takemasu of the convenience store chain operator.

ANA Holdings Inc. President Koji Shibata said the airline group hopes to raise pay following its recovery from the COVID-19 fallout to reward employees for their patience during the tough times.

Skylark Holdings Co. President Makoto Tani said the restaurant chain will “positively consider implementing a pay scale hike to protect the livelihoods of our employees.”

Meanwhile, a senior official of a major railroad company sounded cautious, saying that the company’s business performance has not returned to levels before the coronavirus pandemic.

Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, one of the three major business groups, called for pay scale hikes instead of temporary wage increases favored by some business managers.

“We want to see wage increases, mainly pay scale hikes, that are no smaller than price rises,” Tokura told a press conference, proposing what he calls “structural pay rises.”