Wage hikes at Japan's big firms top 5% on average

Workers at many of Japan's major companies have scored their biggest pay raises in decades as a result of annual spring negotiations. The country's largest labor union organization, Rengo, says the increases topped more than 5 percent on average.

Rengo officials announced the results of talks with 771 companies on Friday. They say the average monthly pay increase is 16,469 yen, or about 110 dollars. That is a gain of 5.28 percent, and the first in 33 years that was over 5 percent.

It was also well above last year's final calculation of 3.6 percent.

Many companies in the auto, electronics and steel industries agreed fully to union demands.

Negotiations with small and medium-sized enterprises are now set to get into full swing. The focus is on whether workers at these firms can also win significant pay raises.