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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 November 23 - 29  > All parties in meeting with Zenroren discussing minimum wages call for nationally-uniform system
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2022 November 23 - 29 TOP3 [LABOR]

All parties in meeting with Zenroren discussing minimum wages call for nationally-uniform system

November 29, 2022

The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and the People's Spring Struggle Joint Committee on November 28 held a meeting to hear about each political party's policy on the minimum wage system in the Lower House members' office building. Dietmembers from four parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, attended the meeting.

Sunayama Taichi of the Joint Committee complained that workers' wages are not catching up with rising prices.

JCP Vice Chair Kurabayashi Akiko (House of Councilors) presented the JCP economic proposals with "across-the-board minimum wage of 1,500 yen nationwide" on top of the list of the proposals. In order to secure needed financial resources, she explained, "The JCP proposes that a tax be levied on large corporations' internal reserves temporarily to be used to enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to offer higher wages."

Funayama Yasue, Democratic Party for the People member of the House of Councilors, also pointed to the need for a "nationwide across-the-board minimum wage" in addition to "equal pay for equal labor" rules. In order to increase tax revenues to acquire needed resources, she said, "Consolidated taxation such as a financial income tax should be introduced." She called for cuts in the consumption tax as a means to rebuild the economy.

Suematsu Yoshinori, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan member of the House of Representatives, said, "An increase in wages is the most important issue among economic policies." He cited the practice in Germany and other countries as examples where minimum hourly wages were increased, and said, "In time for an ordinary session of the Diet next year, opposition parties will compile a joint proposal which helps SMEs increase wages."

Mutai Shunsuke, Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives, said, "Without a nationally-uniform system or the utilization of corporate internal reserves for SMEs, it will be difficult to sustain the economic well-being of Japanese society." He pointed out that the amount of minimum wages is decided based on SMEs' "ability to pay". Mutai suggested that considerations be advanced to review the method of determination.

In summarizing the meeting, Zenroren Secretary General Kurosawa Koichi said, "It is significant that all parties referred to the need for a nationwide across-the-board minimum wage system and to the utilization of corporate internal reserves as possible financial resources to realize higher wages." He also said that it was noteworthy about the ruling party lawmaker's statement that the "ability-to-pay" principle should be reviewed and that the determination method concerning minimum wages should be based on the cost of living.

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