Real wages in Japan shrank in April

Government data for April painted a discouraging picture for Japanese households. Figures showed workers made slightly more than in the same month a year earlier, but that in real terms their wages were down.

A labor ministry survey of more than 30,000 businesses with five or more employees found that workers earned an average of more than 283,000 yen, or about 2,140 dollars, for the month. That's up 1.7 percent in yen terms from a year earlier. The increase was largely due to overtime.

It was the fourth straight month of year-on-year gains.

But when adjusted for inflation, the figure was actually down by 1.2 percent.

Ministry officials say the fact that wages aren't keeping pace with inflation is straining household finances.