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Economy

Summer bonuses surge in Japan, led by manufacturers

TOKYO -- Summer bonuses paid by Japan's major corporations are rising 8.48% on average from last year, with manufacturers leading the way with double-digit growth, according to a Nikkei Inc. survey.

     Payouts across all industries averaged 793,849 yen ($7,754), based on responses from 581 leading companies for which comparisons with the previous year were possible. The increase surpasses the 7% growth marked in 1989 and 1990, at the height of the bubble economy.

     The weaker yen and growing overseas operations have helped buoy manufacturers' earnings, contributing to their 10.94% jump in bonuses this summer. All 17 sectors are handing out bigger bonuses than a year ago. By comparison, payouts shrank in seven sectors last summer.

     Steelmakers topped this year's list with bonuses growing 27.6%. Payouts for the precision machinery sector rose 15.44%, followed by automakers and their parts suppliers at 13.21%. Toyota, which posted a record net profit in fiscal 2013, is shelling out 1.37 million yen.

     Bonuses among nonmanufacturers edged 0.44% higher, with growth excluding the electric utility sector averaging more than 3%. Power companies' 38.02% drop in bonuses reflect the earnings crunch stemming from their idled nuclear reactors. The real estate and housing segment is paying out 27.43% more than last summer, underpinned by strong condominium sales and a recovering market for office space.

     The biggest bonus was issued by Sekisui House at 1.55 million yen, the highest for the second year running.

(Nikkei)

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