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Labor costs hit 16-year high as Japan pays workers more

Big companies see salaries jump 6.6% on the year

Part-time workers' hourly wages rose 2.3% in fiscal 2017, adding costs to businesses. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- Personnel expenses at Japan's large corporations have grown to their highest level in 16 years as a deepening shortage of workers has forced them to increase pay for part-timers.

These costs came to 13.38 trillion yen ($121 billion) in the January-March quarter, a level not seen since the same period of 2002, according to a Finance Ministry survey on companies with capital of at least 1 billion yen. The ministry used a moving average of the last four quarters to take into account seasonal fluctuations.The tally has risen 8.3% from a low in July-September 2013, and 6.6% over the past year.

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