Average basic wage in Japan rose 2.3% in April

Japanese government statistics show the average basic monthly pay rose 2.3 percent in April from a year earlier, but real wages continue to decline.

The labor ministry released preliminary figures from a survey of more than 30,000 businesses with at least five employees.

The figures show the average wage deducting overtime in April was 264,503 yen, or about 1,700 dollars. This is up 2.3 percent from the previous year -- the steepest growth rate in about 30 years.

For total earnings per worker, including base salary and overtime, the average was 296,884 yen, topping 1,910 dollars. This is up 2.1 percent, the 28th straight month of year-on-year increase.

Inflation-adjusted real wages fell 0.7 percent, marking the 25th consecutive month of decline. This is the longest downward trend on record.

It shows wage growth has failed to keep pace with price increases.

Labor ministry officials say sharp wage increases secured during the annual wage negotiations have apparently resulted in higher basic wages, but rising prices continue to have a strong impact. They say some firms are expected to raise wages later in the year, and they will be watching closely to see if real wages also increase.