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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 June 29 - July 5  > Minimum hourly wage of \1,500 is key to overall higher wages
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2022 June 29 - July 5 [POLITICS]

Minimum hourly wage of \1,500 is key to overall higher wages

June 30, 2022
The latest consumer price index (CPI) shows that in May, prices of basic goods increased by 4.7% from the same month the year before. Meanwhile, the average real wages of workers in April decreased by 1.7% from a year earlier.

In a Kyodo News opinion poll, which was conducted between June 26 and June 28, the percentage of respondents who think that Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s handling of the current price surge is “inadequate” reached 79.8%.

Under the Liberal Democratic Party-led government, compared with 1997, the average annual actual earnings of workers in 2021 fell by 610,000 yen, meaning that among major economies, only Japan did not experience wage growth during the same period.

An increase in the minimum wage will play a vital role in providing living wages to workers. The government, since the days of the Abe administration, has set a goal of raising the average minimum hourly wage to 1,000 yen. On the other hand, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said nothing about the 1,000-yen target in its campaign platform for the July 10 Upper House election, unlike in the two previous Upper House elections.

When looking at other industrialized nations, the U.K. and France have increased their minimum wages to more than 1,500 yen and Germany will raise the minimum wage to over 1,600 yen in October. In the U.S., President Biden has expressed his intent to realize an increase of the federal minimum wage to 2,000 yen.

The Japanese Communist Party in its wage growth policy calls for a nationwide minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen. As a measure to achieve this, the JCP proposes to impose a 2% tax on large corporations’ internal reserves for five years which will add ten trillion yen to tax revenues and to use the additional tax revenues to provide financial support for smaller businesses.
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