Major Japanese companies notified their labor unions they will offer smaller pay-scale hikes than last year –the second straight yearly fall– amid uncertainty surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump's economic policies, according to The Mainichi newspaper.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged businesses to hike wages in an effort to beat decades of deflation, but corporate executives remained cautious about the new U.S. administration's protectionist stance on imports such as cars made in Mexico and elsewhere.

While the unions of major carmakers requested a 3,000-yen monthly hike (US$ 26.46), Toyota Motor Corp. offered a raise of US$ 11.47 (1,300 yen) a month, down from last year's US$ 13.23 (1,500 yen). When including the increased allowance for childrearing, the total amount rises to US$ 21.17 (2,400 yen).

In January, Trump railed against Toyota for its 2015 announcement of plans to build a Mexico factory and said in a tweet that the company should build the plant in the United States or pay a "big border tax." Toyota announced that it will spend US$ 10 billion in U.S. capital investments over the next five years following Trump's tweet.

Nissan Motor Co., offered a pay-scale hike of US$ 13.23 (1,500 yen), half the amount agreed on last year. 

Trump's protectionist policies also pose a threat to Japan's second-largest automaker as its output in Mexico is the largest among Japanese automakers, producing more than 800,000 cars a year and exporting roughly 300,000 of them to the United States.

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