Winter bonuses at Japanese firms rise for 1st time in 3 yrs

The average winter bonus at large Japanese companies rose for the first time in three years, up 8.92 percent from a year earlier to 894,179 yen ($6,800), the country's most powerful business lobby said Thursday.

It was the sharpest increase since the current calculation method was adopted in 1981, with the rise reflecting the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren.

The average winter bonus was the third highest but did not recover to the level of the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Of the 18 industries in the survey covering 162 major firms, average bonuses rose in 16 sectors this winter.

The average winter bonus in the nonmanufacturing sector increased 16.86 percent from last year to 832,082 yen, larger than the 7.29 percent rise to 915,724 yen among manufacturers.

Steelmakers saw the sharpest increase, with winter bonuses up 87.23 percent to 1,017,895 yen.

Bonuses in the commercial sector, including department stores and other retailers, increased by 27.18 percent, while the railway sector saw a 25.98 percent rise, according to Keidanren.

On the other hand, pulp and paper makers, as well as electric power companies saw a decline, the business lobby said.

© Kyodo News