Many Japanese firms set to boost pay as annual wage negotiations peak

Japan's annual wage negotiations are set to peak on Wednesday, when many companies will respond to labor unions. Many unions are having their demands met, but the question is whether workers at not only big firms but also smaller ones will be given persistent pay raises.

The negotiations come to a climax amid concerns on whether wage hikes will match a record surge in prices. So far, unions have been winning outcomes seen only once in several decades, such as settlements happening quicker than usual or wage demands being met in full.

Electronics giant Panasonic Holdings Corporation is set to agree to increase pay by 7,000 yen, or about 52 dollars, a month. That is in line with union demands and the biggest hike in 10 years.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also plans to fully meet the union demand for the first time in 49 years and raise pay by 14,000 yen, or about 104 dollars a month.

Automaker Toyota Motor already reached a settlement at its first management-union negotiation. For a third consecutive year, it has decided to meet demands in full for a pay rise and a bonus. Nissan Motor and Honda Motor also agreed to union demands in full.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines both decided to give the largest pay rises in 30 years.

Analysts at some private think tanks say the average salary increase by domestic companies, including small and medium-sized businesses, will be 3 percent. That would be the highest level since 1994.

Still, they say the pay hikes will not be enough to soften the impact of inflation.