TOKYO – Labor unions here are reeling from what could turn out to be a fatal blow delivered to Japan's obsolete lifetime employment and seniority-based wage system, now blamed rather belatedly by management for jeopardizing Japanese competitiveness. This year, shunto – Japan’s so-called annual spring wage struggle – deviated sharply from the established negotiating pattern. The consequences still are being sorted out, but already it’s clear that organized labor has lost clout, especially ...

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