Big Japan firms offer largest wage hikes in 31 years

Employees at some of Japan's biggest firms can expect a sizable bump in their pay checks this year. They'll see an average increase of nearly 4 percent following annual wage negotiations. That's the largest jump in 31 years.

Officials with the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, crunched preliminary figures from 92 companies with at least 500 employees. They say the firms are raising base wages and seniority-linked pay by 3.9 percent, roughly in line with inflation. That equates to around 13,000 yen a month or 95 dollars.

The figures show that wages are up in 14 out of 15 industries. And in 12 industries they've increased by more than 3 percent. That includes ship building, machinery and metals, as well as construction and textiles.

Keidanren officials say it's important that the upward momentum spreads to smaller firms and that it continues next year.