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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 10 - 16  > JCP Daimon calls for minimum wage reforms to narrow regional income gaps
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2015 June 10 - 16 [LABOR]

JCP Daimon calls for minimum wage reforms to narrow regional income gaps

June 12, 2015
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Daimon Mikishi at a Diet committee meeting called for a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage to lessen regional income gaps.

At a meeting of the House of Councilors Committee on Regional Issues and Consumer Affairs on June 10, Daimon underscored the large disparity in minimum wages which are set by each prefecture. The hourly minimum wage in Tokyo is 888 yen or 7.2 dollars, which is the highest in Japan, and Tottori is the lowest at 677 yen or 5.5 dollars, and the gap between the two reaches 211 yen or 1.7 dollars, he said.

Daimon exposed the fallacy of the common belief that the problem of low wages is not serious in regional areas because commodity prices are also low there. He cited a report by Bukkyo University Professor Kanazawa Seiichi that the estimated minimum standard of living expenses for a 25-year-old worker is 2.734 million yen in the rural prefecture of Iwate and 2.805 million yen in Saitama in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The difference is equivalent to 40 yen (0.3 dollars) in hourly wages. The actual minimum wages are 678 yen (5.5 dollars) in Iwate and 802 yen (6.5 dollars) in Saitama.

The JCP lawmaker noted that municipal governments in rural areas used to endorse low minimum wages in order to attract businesses, but that they now support higher ones so local residents will not leave their hometowns. He called for an increase in minimum wages as a mean to revitalize local economies and to help workers survive in provincial areas.

Ishiba Shigeru, Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan, admitted that in most cases, regional gaps in wages are greater than those in prices. He said that it is essential to raise wage levels in order to revitalize local economies.

Past related articles:
> Zenroren in global ‘Fight for $15’ action calls for drastic increase in Japan’s minimum wage [April 16, 2015]
> Japan’s minimum wage lowest among G7 countries [April 3, 2014]
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