The Sega effect: will wages start rising in Japan?

Sega, an established Japanese arcade and video game maker, announced on 17 February that it was raising the annual salary of its full-time employees by an average of 15%. The increase in the wage base will see the monthly initial salary for a college graduate rise by 35% (78,000 yen), from 222,000 yen to 300,000 yen. The measure is seen as a way to enhance Sega’s global competitiveness by securing high-quality talent.

About the event

As Japan faces historically high levels of inflation, human resources are becoming increasingly valuable. The number of Japanese nationals looking for working visas and jobs abroad has grown to record numbers, according to Indeed, a recruitment firm. A weakened currency complicates matters further, stirring workers’ thoughts about earning in another denomination. During the 1990s and 2000s, workers had difficulty demanding higher wages, as a prolonged period of deflation resulted in slow growth, low corporate profitability, and higher debt burdens.

However, this year is different. Japan’s 30-year high inflation will push companies to decide between raising salaries by an equally record percentage or leaving employees poorer and more impatient. Sega seems to have taken a step in the right direction, but will it catch on? What should companies do with salary margins in 2023? Is it necessary for large multinationals to raise wages, even when the much larger Japanese SME sector claims to be unable to pay more? What effects would higher salaries have on the Japanese economy as a whole? Could this lead to a turnaround in Japan’s long deflationary slumber?


Akira Kawamoto

Founding Partner, Aspirant Group, Inc./Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University

Michael Spranger

COO at Sony AI

Ken Cogger

International Head of HR, Nikko Asset Management

Vivian Tokai

Director, North Asia of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

Rodrigo González

Director, Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network


Times below are shown as GMT+9

17:30 – 17:50 – Registration and Networking

17:50 – 19:00 – Panel discussion and Q&A

19:00 – 20:00 – Drinks and standing dinner


Our events are typically closed-door and reserved for members only. As such, please note that guest spaces are extremely limited and subject to availability and suitability. To request to attend this event, please fill out the form below and a member of our staff will be in contact with you shortly.