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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 16 - 22  > Labor survey allegedly falsified to support Abenomics
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2019 January 16 - 22 [POLITICS]

Labor survey allegedly falsified to support Abenomics

January 19 & 22, 2019
The Labor Ministry allegedly falsified monthly labor survey data with the intent to show that the “Abenomics” economic policy has produced good results. The allegation surfaced in joint hearings held by opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, on January 18 and 21.

The opposition parties conducted the hearings in order to find out the true facts behind the ministry’s use of an improper method in its monthly survey on working conditions.

The Monthly Labour Survey is designated by the government as one of 56 fundamental statistical surveys. Under the current rules, the Labor Ministry is obliged to survey all business entities with more than 500 employees. However, since 2004, regarding monthly surveys of Tokyo companies with more than 500 employees, the ministry has adopted a random sampling method and carried out the survey on only one-third of these companies.

At the hearing held on January 18, it was revealed that the Labor Ministry in January 2018 began making an adjustment to the monthly survey results supposedly with the aim of hiding the fact that the ministry did not collect data as required from “all companies” with more than 500 employees.

With the adjustment, the labor statistics published in June last year showed that real wages and total cash earnings rose 2.5% and 3.3% from a year earlier, respectively. Many economists cast doubts on such a huge growth in the wage index. However, Prime Minister Abe in the Diet repeatedly boasted that the survey provided the best figures of the century.

At the hearing sessions on January 18 and 21, a Labor Ministry official admitted that the ministry failed to report to the Internal Affairs Statistics Commission on the use of the sampling method or on the alterations to the survey results. The ministry official made this remark when opposition lawmakers pointed out the fact that the Statistics Commission in September last year questioned the Labor Ministry regarding the credibility of the monthly survey results.

In addition, asked by the opposition parties about whether or not PM Abe and the then Labor Minister were aware that the fixing of the monthly survey data began in January, the ministry official replied that the ministry is investigating the matter.

The Abe Cabinet on January 18 decided on the revision of the FY2019 budget plan in order to pay unpaid labor insurance benefits caused by the doctoring of the monthly labor statistics. It is unprecedented that the government had to review its budget draft due to its own mistakes.

Past related article:
> FY2019 budget plan to be revised to pay unpaid labor insurance benefits due to Labor Ministry’s faulty survey data [January 10&11, 2019]

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