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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen needed to cover basic living needs: Zenroren survey
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2017 June 21 - 27 [LABOR]

Minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen needed to cover basic living needs: Zenroren survey

June 23, 2017
The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) on June 22 held a press conference and released survey results indicating that young adults living alone need to earn 2.7 million yen a year or 1,500 yen an hour as a living wage to cover their basic needs no matter which prefecture they live in. Zenroren stressed the need to introduce a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

Zenroren between 2015 and 2016 in collaboration with its prefectural federations conducted the survey on the cost of living. The findings of the survey showed that for people aged between late teens and 30s living in one person households, a monthly income of 220,000 yen to 240,000 yen is essential to secure a minimum standard of living regardless of whether they live in a big city or not.

Generally, people tend to think that the cost of living in urban areas is higher than that in suburban areas, but in reality, there is no difference. One possible reason for this is that while people living in a city spend more on housing and food, people living in rural areas spend more on transportation and heating.

In the press conference at the Labor Ministry office building, University of Shizuoka Associate Professor Nakazawa Shuichi, who oversaw the Zenroren survey, pointed out, “The survey reveals that workers are unable to maintain decent living conditions with the current minimum wages.” He said that Japan’s minimum wage system has caused a gap of 218 yen between regional hourly minimum wages, which led to the outflow of labor to higher minimum wage regions.

Wako University Professor Takenobu Mieko referred to an argument that an increase in minimum wages will lead to corporate failures. She said, “Looking at the U.S., in some states, a minimum wage hike to 15 dollars brought about a positive impact on local economies. A higher minimum wage will contribute to the creation of good jobs.”

On this day, the People’s Spring Struggle Joint Committee consisting of Zenroren and independent unions staged a day of action to demand the establishment of a nationwide, blanket minimum wage system.

Past related articles:
> Labor Ministry council okays gap in regional minimum wages [ January 26, 2017]
> Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike [January 6, 2016]
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