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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 3 - 9  > Discussions on minimum wage begin
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2019 July 3 - 9 [LABOR]

Discussions on minimum wage begin

July 5, 2019

The Labor Ministry's tripartite council, which consists of experts, union representatives, and employers, on July 4 began its deliberations on a minimum wage increase.

Concurrently, in front of the Labor Ministry building where the Central Minimum Wages Council was holding discussions, union activists were vocally demanding an immediate increase to 1,000 yen as a national minimum wage and an additional 500 yen in the near future.

At present, the minimum wage is 874 yen on average in Japan with the highest at 985 yen in Tokyo and the lowest at 761 yen in Kagoshima. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), and several other national trade union centers along with a lot of independent unions demand a nationwide "across-the-board" minimum wage system. Meanwhile, the Labor Ministry has proposed an "average" minimum wage of 1,000 yen to be implemented in the early 2020s, which will leave income gaps between regions as they are.

Zenroren Secretary General Kurosawa Koichi said, "In a nationwide cost-of-living survey, a minimum of 1,500 yen is deemed to be necessary as an hourly wage anywhere in Japan. Given this result, the government should rectify the gap among prefectures and adopt a uniform national minimum wage system."

A Zenrokyo representative said, "Minimum wages differ from region to region, causing an outflow of workers from low wage prefectures." A representative of the Shitamachi Union which is made up of individual workers said, "The tripartite council should examine the actual situation of workers' livelihoods before deciding on a minimum wage."

Past related articles:
> Minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen should become major focal point in Upper House election: Zenroren [June 25, 2019]
> Minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen across country necessary to cover basic daily needs: labor union survey [June 7, 2019]

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