TOKYO — Tough times have whacked Japanese workers so hard that cynics suggest this year's shunto, the annual “spring struggle” for higher wages, may be over before it begins. There's no longer much spring or even struggle in the 1999 confrontation between management and labor. The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) is requesting an all-time low 1% increase in the basic wage, while the Japan Federation of Employers' Assns. (Nikkeiren) is proposing a zero increase, once again ...

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