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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 December 14 - 20  > Like Germany and France, Japan needs to increase minimum hourly wage to cope with cost-of-living crisis
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2022 December 14 - 20 [LABOR]

Like Germany and France, Japan needs to increase minimum hourly wage to cope with cost-of-living crisis

December 16, 2022
In Japan, the national average minimum hourly wage was increased by 31 yen to 961 yen this year. However, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) pointed out that this minimum wage level is insufficient to protect people’s livelihoods from the rising costs of food, utilities, gasoline, and other goods.

Using a calculation showing that in order to cover the minimum costs of living, an hourly wage of 1,664 yen and 1,642 yen is necessary in Tokyo and Okinawa, respectively, Zenroren demands that the minimum wage be increased again.

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Tamura Takaaki in the latest extraordinary Diet session cited Germany and France as examples of countries which carried out minimum wage hikes multiple times and demanded that Japan needs to raise the minimum wage again.

In Germany, the federal minimum wage went up in October to 12 euros (nearly 1,730 yen) per hour, following increases to 9.82 euros in January and 10.45 euros in July, which will contribute to offering higher wages to more than six million workers.

In France, the government normally adjusts the amount of the national minimum wage once a year in January. This year, as measures to deal with the ongoing price surge, the government carried out the additional adjustment in May and August and raised the minimum wage to 11.07 euros (about 1,600 yen) an hour.

Globally, the minimum wage system using the nationwide fixed rate is dominant. In contrast, in Japan, the minimum wage is set separately by each prefecture. The highest is 1,072 yen per hour in Tokyo and the lowest is 853 yen in ten prefectures including Aomori and Okinawa. This leads to the regional income gap amounting to 400,000 yen a year. The JCP and Zenroren call for a uniform minimum wage hike to 1,500 yen.

Past related articles:
> All parties in meeting with Zenroren discussing minimum wages call for nationally-uniform system [November 29, 2022]
> Zenroren survey proves unions’ demand for minimum hourly wage increase to 1,500 yen has legitimacy [June 25, 2022]
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