In Japan, winter bonuses are paid out at this time of year. Many companies must have paid bonuses to their employees already. It is not easy being an employee but I am sure when the bonuses are given out, many people are all smiles, checking their payslips.
In the old days, bonuses were paid out in cash. You had to check the content of your bonus packet and then make doubly sure that you didn’t drop it and you took it home carefully, looking about you all the while.
On the day of the bonus payment, the company president would deliver a message and your boss would say to you, “Go straight home. Don’t drop your bonus packet.” Despite warning though, you would go into the nightlife district with friends and end up “donating a considerable sum” to certain establishments. Such misdeeds are fond memories now.
This giving out of winter bonuses must be a distinctive Japanese practice. It originated from employers paying you extra so that you could buy special New Year’s mochi (rice cakes) and supplement your income for the New Year festivities. Whatever its history, you can’t help getting excited when you hear the word “bonus.” For many, this must come as an opportunity for spending, setting aside discretion and buying that thing you had wanted.
According to surveys carried out by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (a Japanese financial newspaper) and Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), this year’s winter bonus showed on average an increase of just under 1% over last year. We are slightly worried about the rise in the Consumer Price Index, and we are not sure if the bonus payout would lead strongly to boosting the economy. Still, I would definitely urge you to spend it wisely.
In my message to employees on bonus payslip, I wrote, “In this starting year, we made a steady step forward towards the achievement of VISION 2012. This is the very fruit of the ceaseless endeavour made by all of you. As President, I want to thank you for the great effort you put into your work, your family included. I’d like to ask you to help us further with your cooperation and hard work and I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.” This is what I truly feel as President and I must admit, I am breathing a sigh of relief, thanks to our relatively good business figures.
Looking forward to 2008, uncertainties are rife. Standing at the helm may not be an easy task. It is my resolve therefore to step up action aimed at our target achievement, with the Group concerted in effort and relentlessly driving forward towards reaching VISION 2012.