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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 5 - 11  > Minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen across country necessary to cover basic daily needs: labor union survey
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2019 June 5 - 11 [LABOR]

Minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen across country necessary to cover basic daily needs: labor union survey

June 7, 2019

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)’s prefectural body in Kagoshima on June 6 published an estimate that an hourly wage of at least around 1,600 yen is necessary to cover the minimum costs of living.

Surveys of this kind which Zenroren had conducted in 19 prefectures showed almost the same results in the surveyed prefectures. Zenroren demands the creation of a nationwide uniform minimum wage system and an increase of minimum wages to 1,500 yen. The Zenroren Kagoshima estimate indicates that even Zenroren’s demands are too modest.

The estimate is based on the cost of living of a 25-year-old unmarried worker living in Kagoshima City. The rent of 34,000 yen, the parking lot fee of 3,000 yen as well as costs of a private car, which 70% of the respondents in the union survey thought to be essential, clothing, and other daily necessities were added up to determine minimum living expenses. In order to cover the cost, the worker needs to earn 2.85 million yen a year. This amount was divided by regular workers’ normal working hours (1,800 hours a year or 150 hours a month) in order to convert it into the hourly amount.

Kagoshima-roren Chair Fukumaru Yuko at a press conference pointed out, “Unlike large cities which have good public transportation systems, an automobile is a must-have in Kagoshima. Prices for goods and services in Kagoshima are not so different from those in Tokyo and living expenses are around the same level.” She stressed, “The estimate will theoretically support our demands for an across-the-board minimum wage system and an increase in regional minimum wages. We will keep working to achieve these goals while urging the government to provide financial support to small- and medium-sized companies.”

University of Shizuoka Associate Professor Nakazawa Shuichi, who supervised the survey, said that with Kagoshima’s current minimum wage of 761 yen (the lowest in Japan), it is impossible to maintain a decent quality of life. He added that minimum hourly wages should be increased by taking into account minimum living expenses.

Past related articles:
> Zenroren calls for creating nationwide uniform minimum wage system by 2020 [July 27&29, 2018]
> Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike [January 6, 2016]

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