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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 26 - August 1  > Labor ministry council turns its back on workers’ demand for minimum wage hike to 1,000 yen
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2017 July 26 - August 1 [LABOR]

Labor ministry council turns its back on workers’ demand for minimum wage hike to 1,000 yen

July 27, 2017
The Labor Ministry’s Central Council on Minimum Wage on July 25 announced its recommendation to revise regional minimum wages to around 850 yen (7.68 dollars) per hour on average, still at a low level in defiance of workers’ demand for boosting the minimum wage to at least 1,000 yen without delay.

In the recommendation, the Central Council proposed to increase minimum hourly wages by a range of 22-26 yen. A 26-yen hike will be applied to minimum wages in six prefectures such as Tokyo and Osaka, a 25-yen hike to 11 prefectures, including Kyoto and Hiroshima, a 24-yen hike to 14 prefectures, including Hokkaido and Fukuoka, and a 22 yen to 16 prefectures, including Okinawa and Miyazaki. The national average of minimum wages will be raised to 848 yen an hour. On the other hand, the recommendation fell short of reducing disparities between regional minimum wages as shown by the fact that the gap between the highest minimum wage (958 yen or 8.65 dollars in Tokyo) and the lowest (736 yen or 6.65 dollars in Okinawa and Miyazaki) will increase from the current 218 yen to 222 yen.

Following the release of the recommendation, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) issued a statement under the name of Zenroren Deputy Secretary General Hashiguchi Norishio.

The statement points out that Zenroren’s survey on the minimum cost of living confirmed that regardless of the region people live in, they need an hourly wage of 1,500 yen to cover their basic needs in daily living. It demands that the Labor Ministry make a political decision to raise minimum wages to at least 1,000 yen an hour nationwide without delay.

The statement also points out that the widening gap between regional minimum wages indicates flaws in the existing system under which the minimum wage is set by each prefecture. Zenroren expressed its determination to work even harder to realize a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) Secretary General, Ohmi Naoto, published a statement recognizing the council recommendation as acceptable.

Each prefecture’s minimum wage will be revised based on the Central Council’s recommendation through discussions at a prefectural minimum wage council.

Past related articles:
> Minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen needed to cover basic living needs: Zenroren survey [June 23, 2017]
> Labor ministry’s panel proposal only widens regional minimum wage gaps [July 28, 2016]
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