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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 24 - 30  > Majority of bar associations call for drastic minimum wage hike and elimination of regional income gaps
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2019 July 24 - 30 [LABOR]

Majority of bar associations call for drastic minimum wage hike and elimination of regional income gaps

July 26, 2019
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) and 36 of 52 JFBA-affiliated associations have issued statements demanding a drastic increase in minimum hourly wages, according to an Akahata survey.

These statements point out that the present level of the minimum wage falls far short of ensuring a decent quality of life. They also regard regional income gaps as a serious problem and call for a drastic minimum wage hike and government support for smaller businesses.

JFBA in its statement referred to the government goal of increasing the minimum hourly wage to 1,000 yen and pointed out that a minimum wage of 1,000 yen per hour, however, will bring in an annual income of only two million yen, barely above the designated poverty level.

Many local bar associations, including the one in Shizuoka Prefecture whose regional minimum hourly wage is 125 yen lower than that in its neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa, argued that the gap in regional minimum wages causes labor shortages in lower minimum wage regions due to an outflow of labor to higher wage rate regions. They said that regional minimum wages should be increased to at least 1,000 yen throughout the nation without delay. Among these organizations, the Sapporo and Sendai bar associations pointed to the need to introduce a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system.

JFBA locals in Miyagi, Kyoto, and Saga prefectures cited a survey on the minimum cost of living conducted annually by the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren). The Zenroren survey data revealed that regardless of the prefecture, people spend the same amount to cover basic expenses and that an hourly wage of 1,500 yen is necessary to meet the minimum cost of living.

In Japan, the minimum wage is set separately in each prefecture by the Regional Minimum Wage Council based on a recommendation made by the Labor Ministry’s Central Council concerning the revision of regional minimum wages. The central council on July 4 began discussions on this year’s minimum wage revision.

Some JFBA locals insist that the minimum wage council at the national and prefecture levels should hold revision discussion open to the public. The Tokyo and Yamaguchi bar associations in their statements demand that representatives of non-regular workers should become members of the central and regional councils which have the tripartite structure consisting of experts, union representatives, and employers.

Past related articles:
> Discussions on minimum wage begin [July 5, 2019]
> Minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen across country necessary to cover basic daily needs: labor union survey [June 7, 2019]
> Zenroren calls for creating nationwide uniform minimum wage system by 2020 [July 27&29, 2018]
> Zenroren local union in Shizuoka is fighting for minimum wage hike [January 6, 2016]
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