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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 June 27 - July 3  > Minimum wage hike is essential for economic recovery
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2012 June 27 - July 3 [LABOR]

Minimum wage hike is essential for economic recovery

June 30, 2012
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Labor Ministry’s Central Council on Minimum Wage has started discussions on its annual recommendation for an increase in the minimum hourly wage to be announced by late July. Based on the recommendation, prefectural councils will determine regional minimum wages.

Amid the increase in the poverty rate and the growing gap between the rich and poor, it is urgent to raise the minimum wage to at least 1,000 yen per hour in order to ensure decent living conditions for all workers.

The national average of minimum wages in the FY 2011 is 737 yen per hour. The highest is 837 yen in Tokyo, and the lowest is 645 yen in Iwate, Kochi, and Okinawa, which amounts to only 100,000 to 130,000 yen in monthly wages even working full-time.

More than 10 million people are living under the “working poor” conditions, earning less than 2 million yen a year. One in every three workers is a non-regular worker. The minimum wage system must be improved without delay in order to fulfill its fundamental role in supporting workers’ living conditions.

To raise wages is essential for the reconstruction of 3.11 disaster-stricken regions since it leads to reactivating the regional economies.

The Japan Research Institute of Labor Movement (Rodo-soken) has estimated that the minimum hourly wage increase to 1,000 yen will raise more than 22 million workers’ income, household spending by more than 4.5 trillion yen, and GDP by 0.8%.

In order to support low-wage workers’ living conditions, expand domestic demand, and reactivate Japan’s economy, a minimum wage hike is crucial.
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