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Too much demand? Japan's delivery giant thinks so

Yamato Transport symbolizes Abenomics' productivity problem

Yamato Transport hopes its first fee hike in 27 years will ease demand and thus help its overworked delivery staff. (Photo by Manami Yamada)

TOKYO -- Stagnant wages are a global phenomenon, but Japanese workers have been especially slow to receive pay rises. Nowhere is the problem more pronounced -- or more representative of why growth is so elusive -- than in the freight and parcel delivery industry, where an acute labor shortage is squeezing productivity even as demand soars.   

At Tokyo's Ishiyama Carriage, one of the nation's 217,000 delivery businesses, executive Kenji Ishiyama complained of "a chronic shortage of truck drivers" as young people turn away from tough manual labor. Most of the company's 30 drivers are in their 50s.

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