By Naoko Fujimura and Tetsuya Komatsu


Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., Japan’s two largest carmakers, and electronics companies NEC Corp. and Panasonic Corp. were among companies that rejected union requests for higher pay as the nation’s recession deepened.

Toyota turned down the union’s demand for a base pay increase of 4,000 yen ($41) a month, it said in a statement today. Union wage requests to Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third- largest carmaker, Fujitsu Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. were also rejected.

Japanese companies have slashed production and fired workers, which economists predict will further undermine consumer spending. Prime Minister Taro Aso last week ordered his third stimulus plan as an unprecedented drop in exports pushed the nation toward the worst recession since World War II.

“Small bonuses this summer could hurt consumer spending, which is already depressed,” said Edwin Merner, president of Tokyo-based Atlantis Investment Research Corp., which manages $3.1 billion. “The government must do more to stimulate the economy, especially on the fiscal side.”

Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, is trying to hold down costs after forecasting its first loss in 59 years amid the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The request for higher pay “was far from the reality, given the current economic situation and our business environment,” Satoshi Ozawa, a Toyota senior managing director, said at a press conference today in Toyota City, Japan.

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