Most major Japanese companies offered the lowest hike in base pay in four years on Wednesday, a setback for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's campaign dubbed "Abenomics" to spur the long-sluggish economy.
Toyota Motor's base pay hike, traditionally a benchmark other companies use to gauge their increases, came to 1,300 yen, or about $11, a month - less than last year's 1,500 yen.
The new hike is less than half the union's demand and far below the 4,000 yen given in 2015.
For a Toyota mid-level technician earning 360,000 yen ($3,136) a month, the pay increase works out to 0.36 percent.
Japan'sannual "shunto" spring wage increases are a barometer of corporate confidence, and an indicator of whether consumer spending can get a needed boost - which this year's hikes are unlikely to supply.
"Wage growth is far from enough to accelerate economic growth and inflation," said Hisashi Yamada, chief economist at Japan Research Institute.
Despite sitting on piles of cash, companies are reluctant to raise wages as they're anxious about the economic outlook, currency swings and the chance U.S. President Donald Trump's trade policies will hurt Japan's exports.