February 10, 2016
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shimazu Yukihiro on February 9 in a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting pointed out that the gap in regional minimum wages has been causing a population drain to big cities and weakening local economies, and called for a substantial increase in regional minimum wages and the introduction of a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.
Shimazu spoke of his constituency of Shizuoka Prefecture as an example. The minimum hourly wage in Shizuoka is 783 yen, “122 yen lower than that in Kanagawa Prefecture which borders Shizuoka,” said Shimazu. He also noted that since 2013, a considerable number of young people and people in their prime working years have moved out from Shizuoka.
The JCP lawmaker said that regional minimum wage gaps can be translated into regional income differences amounting to up to 385,000 yen a year, which motivates people to move to areas where they can earn more. Presenting a graph charting this situation, Shimazu said, “If the Abe government really intends to introduce measures to implement the ‘equal job equal pay’ principle, it should first establish a nationwide, blanket minimum wage system.”
Citing that Japan’s minimum wage is the lowest among industrialized countries, Shimazu demanded that the regional minimum wage be increased to at least 1,000 yen per hour.
Shimazu reported that in Germany which recently introduced the across-the-board minimum wage system, 690,000 full-time jobs have been created annually. The government should introduce this type of system without delay, added Shimazu.
Past related articles:
> Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike [January 6, 2016]
> JCP Daimon calls for minimum wage reforms to narrow regional income gaps [June 12, 2015]