Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. is the only news agency providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan

Minimum wage increase recommended for the first time in 4 years

The government Central Council on the Minimum Wage has recommended a 0.4 percent increase in the regional minimum wage. This is the first report to call for a raise in four years.

The Council submitted the report to Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Otsuji Hidehisa on July 26.

In front of a government building where the minimum wage council meeting was held, about 200 workers, mainly from National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)-affiliated unions, chanted their demand for "decent wages."

In a statement published on the same day, Zenroren Secretary General Ban'nai Mitsuo stated, "We take this as a positive offer that reflects the efforts of our movement as well as the efforts of labor representatives on the Minimum Wage Council."

"Problems remain, however," Ban'nai said, "the Council's recommendation for a three-yen increase is too small to make the current regional minimum wage livable in the true sense of the word. It is far from meeting the living cost principle established in the Minimum Wage Law."

He also pointed out that this recommendation made the mistake of maintaining or even encouraging regional wage disparities.

Ban'nai said, "Although the nation's economy has bounced back and business performance is improving, workers' living conditions are worsening due to the widespread increase in low-paying and unstable jobs. The need now is to substantially increase the regional minimum wage in order to change the present condition that forces workers to work hard for low wages as well as to revitalize rural economies."

Zenroren is calling on local unions to put greater energy in the struggle to have local minimum wage councils recommend a substantial raise. -- Akahata, July 27, 2005

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.