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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 September 29 - October 5  > One in every four workers falls into the poor
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2010 September 29 - October 5 TOP3 [LABOR]

One in every four workers falls into the poor

October 3, 2010
The number of workers with an annual income of less than two million yen reached 10.9 million, 324,000 up from 2008 and exceeded 10 million for the fourth year in row, according to survey results on private sector workers’ wages issued by the National Tax Agency on September 28.

In the ten years between 1999 and 2009, economic inequality has increased because a large number of workers’ annual earnings dropped sharply to less than three million yen while more and more workers earned over 20 million yen a year.

An increasing number of workers under the “working poor” conditions with an annual income of less than two million yen dampens consumer spending and causes negative effects in regard to economic recovery.

It is necessary for large corporations to provide more stable employment opportunities and increase workers’ wages, and for the government to address this problem through various measures, including a drastic hike in the minimum wage.

The reason why a growing number of workers fell into the “working poor” category is because the 1999 revision of the Worker Dispatch Law allowed employers in principle to use temporary workers in any job category, which used to be limited to 26 categories. The Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties agreed to ease the regulation. The Japanese Communist Party criticized the amendment to the law for encouraging employers to replace full-time workers with non-regular workers and for spreading the use of disposable labor.

In 2004, the law was again revised and the use of temporary workers expanded to the manufacturing industry. This accelerated the increase in the number of workers falling under the “working poor” category.
- Akahata, October 3, 2010
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