Japan's real wages fall by over 4% in January

The real wages of Japanese workers fell in January by the most in nearly nine years. Wages were down by more than 4 percent from a year earlier, after being adjusted for inflation.

Preliminary figures show a 4.1 percent decline from the same month last year. It was the 10th straight month of decline, and the biggest since May 2014 following an increase in the consumption tax.

Workers earned an average of 276,857 yen, or about 2,000 dollars, including overtime, an increase of 0.8 percent in yen terms. But the gains were canceled out by surging inflation.

Labor ministry officials say the rise in total wages was relatively low compared to recent months, resulting in the sharp fall in real wages.

They say prices are still rising, and they will be watching the outcome of spring wage talks between labor and management.