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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 15 - 21  > Workers’ hourly earnings decrease in Japan over last 20 yrs. unlike other major countries
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2019 May 15 - 21 TOP3 [LABOR]

Workers’ hourly earnings decrease in Japan over last 20 yrs. unlike other major countries

May 18, 2019

Workers in Japan in 2018 earned 8% less per hour compared to what they received 21 years ago while workers among other economic powers obtained increases in wages, Akahata on May 18 reported based on OECD data.

OECD compiles data on per-hour amounts of wages, including overtime pay, by using each nation’s official government statistics. In contrast to the private sector wages in Japan, wages in the private sector increased by 167% in South Korea, 93% in the U.K, 82% in the U.S., 69% in France, and 59% in Germany over the 21 years from 1997 to 2018.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been insisting that as a result of his economic policies, the job market and workers’ earnings keep improving and workers saw large pay hikes in the last five years. Abe’s claim, however, is not supported by the OECD data.

Large companies in Japan have amassed a huge amount of money in internal reserves while slashing workers’ salaries. The urgent need now is to substantially increase minimum wages and push corporations to use their reserve funds, now estimated to be more than 400 trillion yen, to offer wage hikes.

Past related articles:
> Day of action held to push companies to offer drastic wage hike in this year’s ‘shunto’ talks [March 8, 2019]
> Japan’s minimum wage lowest among G7 countries [April 3, 2014]
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