Japan’s wage watershed raises economic hopes

A day after the owner of Uniqlo clothing brand stunned the nation with a plan to raise wages in Japan by up to 40 per cent, its chief financial officer told investors the pay hike was not a one off.

“We want workers to work hard under this new system and if sales and profits rise, there will be room to raise our remuneration to a much higher level,” Fast Retailing’s finance chief Takeshi Okazaki said this month.

In a country where companies have resisted raising pay and the workforce has refrained from aggressive salary demands for most of the past three decades, Fast Retailing’s move is a watershed for the government and the Bank of Japan’s battle to lift the economy out of deflation.

Fidelity Japan Trust PLC (LON:FJV) aims to be the key investment of choice for those seeking Japanese companies exposure. The Trust has a ‘growth at reasonable price’ (GARP) investment style and approach – which involves identifying companies whose growth prospects are being under-appreciated or are not fully recognised by other investors. 

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