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Measured on an hourly basis, Japan's wages and productivity have risen over the past decade. But experts say most of this growth comes from a decline in the average number of hours worked.

Japan's hourly wages up 12% in 10 years but, can it last?

Higher total wages needed to create virtuous circle of economic expansion

YOHEI MATSUO, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Wage growth in Japan has stalled over the past 10 years, due to Japan's weak economic growth over the period. Measured on an hourly basis, however, wages have risen 12% over the past decade, due largely to changes in employment patterns and a 7% decline in hours worked per year.

While two-thirds of the hourly wage growth can be attributed to the streamlining of work, the Japanese economy may fall into a downward spiral if there is only a focus on lifting hourly wages. Instead, adding value through programs to improve workers' skills, and increasing capital investment will be critical to boosting wages over the long term.

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