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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 October 25 - 31  > Koike in interpellation calls for minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen and elimination of gender wage gap without delay
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2023 October 25 - 31 [POLITICS]

Koike in interpellation calls for minimum hourly wage of 1,500 yen and elimination of gender wage gap without delay

October 27, 2023
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira in his interpellation at the House of Councilors plenary session on October 26 demanded that as proposed by the JCP, the government swiftly work to achieve a minimum hourly wage increase to 1,500 yen nationwide and the eradication of the gender wage gap.

Koike noted that women workers at Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) executives’ companies earn 40-80% of what their male counterparts earn and that women make up 70% of non-regular workers. He pointed out, “A major factor behind this situation is outdated employment practices based on traditional gender roles,” and urged Prime Minister Kishida to implement measures which focus on closing the gender wage gap and improving working conditions of non-regular workers.

Kishida in response admitted, “Traditional gender roles act as a factor causing the gender pay gap,” but failed to indicate concrete measures.

Koike took up the issue of the consumption tax invoice system which started in October. He reported on a freelance worker who will face an annual tax payment increase of 150,000 yen, equivalent to this worker’s one month income. He criticized PM Kishida for bulldozing through the controversial system despite growing opposition in order to, supposedly, pave the way for a further sales tax increase. Koike demanded the lowering of the consumption tax rate to 5% and the abolition of the invoice system. Kishida only said, “I have no intent to discontinue the invoice system.”

Koike as the next subject brought up the problematic 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo. He referred to PM Kishida’s policy speech in which he expressed his determination to provide full support for the success of the Expo. Koike, however, said that as evidenced in preparation delays due to the ballooning cost of building the Expo’s venue, this project has already collapsed. Citing a plan to construct casino-centric integrated resort (IR) facilities at the Expo site, Koike said that PM Kishida is using the Expo as an excuse to pour tax money into the infrastructure development for the planned IR construction. Kishida replied, “The IR construction has nothing to do with the Expo,” showing a “so-what” attitude.

Koike pointed to the fact that after the inauguration of the Kishida administration two years ago, the military budget increased by 2.5 trillion yen. He said that the 2.5 trillion yen should have been used to introduce a free school lunch program in all public elementary and junior high schools, make high schools tuition-free, eliminate university entrance fees, and halve university tuition fees. He pushed PM Kishida to withdraw his huge military buildup policy as it will place not only people’s livelihoods but also Japan’s peace and economy at risk.
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