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Japan's middle-age salarymen face pay cuts as seniority loses sway

Median salary for 55-year-old men plunges 14% since 2000

Seniority has already been playing less of a role in determining pay in Japan.

TOKYO -- As Japanese companies look to cut labor costs, workers in their 40s and 50s who traditionally were paid more under a seniority-base system appear to be taking the brunt of wage cuts.

Changing demographics have also intensified the competition for high-paying management positions, which college-educated workers were once more likely to obtain when they hit a certain age. Companies are now retraining older workers in cutting-edge fields to bolster productivity and to make up for a shortage of younger workers.

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