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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 23 - 29  > Lawyers and experts issue appeal calling for higher minimum wages
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2014 July 23 - 29 [LABOR]

Lawyers and experts issue appeal calling for higher minimum wages

July 23, 2014
Lawyers and experts working to wipe out poverty on July 22 issued an appeal calling for a drastic increase in minimum wages to eliminate economic inequalities and poverty.

This appeal was jointly proposed by 40 major anti-poverty activists, including lawyer Utsunomiya Kenji, author Amamiya Karin, and Ryukoku University Professor Emeritus Yoroi Takayoshi. As of July 22, 210 people endorsed the appeal.

Currently, Japan’s regional minimum hourly wages vary from the highest of 869 yen in Tokyo to the lowest of 664 yen in Okinawa and other eight prefectures.

In 2010, representatives of trade unions, the industrial community and experts at a meeting of the government’s employment strategy dialogue agreed that minimum hourly wages should be increased to at least 800 yen as soon as possible and to 1,000 yen on average by 2020.

Utsunomiya in a press conference held in Tokyo stressed, “At the current minimum wage rates, a worker working full-time can only earn 1-1.3 million yen a year. A higher minimum wage is essential to eradicate poverty.” He pointed out the necessity for a drastic increase in minimum wages, correction of regional disparities, and open meetings in minimum wage councils.

Tottori University Professor Fujita Yasukazu also took part in the press conference. Based on his five-year experience as the chair of the Tottori Prefectural Minimum Wage Council, he said that discussions in the council meetings became much more straightforward after the public was allowed to attend the meetings starting in 2008. He expressed his hope that minimum wage councils in other prefectures will also do the same.
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