Annual pay talks get underway in strike-rare Japan
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's unions have started demanding wage hikes from cash-rich firms as annual pay talks get under way, setting up a rare showdown after years of drama-free labour relations.
Unionists are questioning if usually quiescent workers should stick by a decades-long strategy of keeping the peace with their bosses and rarely going on strike, a strategy that has generated few pay rises.
Japan's auto sector is a key target, with all eyes on Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, which has posted huge profits on the back of sharply weaker yen since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swept to power in late 2012.
Mr Abe's economic growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics, helped fatten Japan Inc.'s bottom line, and he has called for companies to pass on some of that profit to help consumers as they brace for an April sales tax hike.