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Almost All Firms See Japan in Recession: Poll
A recent survey found that most Japanese believe the Japanese economy is contracting.

Almost all of 109 major Japanese companies surveyed said Japan is in recession, while nearly 30 percent said they expect their workforces to decline in the coming business year, the results of the survey compiled by Kyodo News on Jan,2,2009 showed.

The survey of major Japanese companies including Canon Inc., Nippon Steel Corp., Nippon Oil Corp., Sony Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., conducted from late November through mid-December, found that 107 of the companies, or 98 percent, believe the Japanese economy is contracting.

The figure is up sharply from 55 percent in the previous survey conducted between late July and early August.

Specifically, 88 companies said economic activity is contracting while 19 noted a gradual slowdown. The remaining two companies replied that activity is leveling off.

As to how long the recession is likely to last, 41 companies expect it to continue until the second half of 2009 while 34 companies said it is likely to last until the first half of 2010.

With regard to employment, 32 companies, or 29 percent, forecast a decrease in regular and non-regular employees in the next business year starting in April. Only 11 respondents, or 10 percent, expect an increase in employees.

Asked whether they plan to cut jobs in the next business year, 45 companies said they will maintain their current numbers of both regular and non-regular workers, while 21 firms replied that they intend to dismiss only non-regular workers.

The survey also found that eight companies are planning to cut jobs in both categories. In addition, five companies intend to increase the number of regular employees while reducing non-regular workers. Two other companies envision cutting regular jobs while maintaining non-regular jobs.

While 18 companies are planning to cut back on the recruitment of new workers fresh out of school in spring 2010 compared with a year earlier, only three firms are planning to expand their hiring plans.

Ahead of annual labor-management wage negotiations in the spring, 14 companies said they have no plans to increase pay while seven said they will propose smaller pay increases than the previous year.






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