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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 July 14 - 27  > Despite record increase proposed, minimum wage well below 1,500 yen demand
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2021 July 14 - 27 [LABOR]

Despite record increase proposed, minimum wage well below 1,500 yen demand

July 15 & 17, 2021

The Labor Ministry’s Central Council on Minimum Wage on July 16 submitted its recommendation for this year’s revision of regional minimum wages to Labor Minister Tamura Norihisa. The central council recommended that minimum hourly wages be increased by 28 yen nationwide, marking a record high.

If the revision takes place as recommended, the national average of minimum wages will be increased to 930 yen from the current 902 yen. the highest minimum wage is 1,041 yen in Tokyo and the lowest is 820 yen in seven prefectures, including Okinawa.

Later on the same day, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Secretary General Kurosawa Koichi issued a statement which points out that although the proposed increase of 28 yen is an all-time high, it fails to realize workers’ demand for a nationwide uniform minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen. In addition, the statement expresses disappointment, stating that the gap between the highest and the lowest remains at 221 yen.

Kurosawa in his statement noted that in the tripartite council’s discussions, in which labor, management, and labor experts took part, management representatives insisted that a minimum wage hike would bring about bankruptcies and business closures. He criticized the management side for its short-sighted stance and turning its back on the development of local economies.

Kurosawa touched on Zenroren’s survey of minimum cost of living which shows that regardless of the region, an hourly wage of at least 1,500 yen is needed to cover basic needs in daily living. He stressed the need for a substantial minimum wage hike and the introduction of a nationwide, across-the-board minimum wage system. He said, “This can be achieved with a utilization of corporate tax revenues and big businesses’ internal reserves, both of which reached a record level even under the pandemic situation.” He also stressed the need for government measures to support smaller businesses.

Regional minimum wages will be determined as a result of discussions at the regional minimum wage councils based on the central council’s recommendation.

The Zenroren secretary general expressed his determination to work even harder to win a minimum wage increase higher than the central councils’ proposal and the introduction of a nationwide uniform minimum wage system.

Past related articles:
> Drastic rise in minimum wages and an end to regional gaps are vital [June 23, 2021]
> Corona crisis clearly demonstrates the need to raise minimum hourly wages [August 22, 2020]
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