government panel on minimum wage made a decision July 31 to raise the minimum
wage by \27 per hour in the average of the nation for the Fiscal 2019. It set a
target at \901. Local panels of the prefectures set their own figures,
respectively, before August 9 in compliance with the suggestion. But many
questions are left unanswered on the minimum wage issue.
DIFFERENCES IN MINIMUM WAGES AT THE LEAST
on the target figure
the panel’s target is put in practice, the minimum wage in Tokyo
will be heightened to \1,013, and \1,011, in Kanagawa Prefecture,
which exceeds the \1,000 level for the first time. The weighted average of the
nation is currently \910, and only six prefectures can go beyond the level, when
Saitama, Chiba, Aichi and Osaka are added,.
prefectures, which are ranked as D, the current minimum wage does not reach
\800. A gap between the highest and the lowest, namely Tokyo
and Kagoshima Prefecture, the latter recording \787
per hour, has expanded to be \226 (it was \224 last year).
July 30, when the government panel discussed the issue, a mass rally was held
in front of the ministry’s building, which mobilized workers from the Zenrokyo
and the Zenroren trade unions as well as the Campaign Committee for Big Raise
of Minimum Wage. The workers showed a slogan, ‘Minimum Wage should be set as
\1,500 immediately in every prefecture, Set Uniform Minimum Wage to remove
gaps! The panel, however, rejected a demand of observer status of workers, and
the meeting was held behind the closed door.
the July election of the House of Councilors, on May 29, the civic groups and
the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) confirmed an agreement: to remove big
gaps of prefectural minimum wages, to realize a \1,500 per hour wage and
practice an 8-hour work a day as basic rules for workers’ life. In fact during
the election campaigns the CDP presented \1,300, the Kokumin-minshu Party (=Democratic
Party for the People), \1,000, and the Communist Party and the
Social-Democratic Party as well as the Reiwa Party, \1,500.
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) established last February the League of
MPs to Promote Uniform Minimum Wage (Chaired by Eto Seishiro, Member of the
House of Representatives). Reportedly, Mr. Eto told in his opening speech,
referring to the bill on National Minimum Wage which was presented in 1975 by
the four opposition parties, that it had been withdrawn unfortunately without
debates and that it was necessary to integrate to a uniform figure which would
foster the fundamental human rights.
dubious MPs, like Inada Tomomi and Simomura Hakubun, both of whom are of the
House of Representatives, belong to the league. However, many of the league
members represent local voters. Even the government’s labor policy says that the
ministry will work so that national weighted average should reach \1,000 as
soon as possible.
league focuses on ‘revival of aggravating local economies and overcome of
deflation’, not on guaranteeing workers’ human rights. But they are obliged to argue
the uniform minimum wage.
the Minimum Wage Act
minimum wage of Japan represents
the figure of Kagoshima
Prefecture, \787. A gap from
that of Tokyo surpasses
\400 thousand, if a worker works for 1,800 hours a year. Measures to fill gaps
are necessary for a time being. The Minimum Wage Act provides, however, prefectural
panels shall set the figure in compliance with the objective given by the
national panel. The act needs to be revised.
act was amended in 2008, stipulating that the government shall arrange measures,
taking life protection services in account from a perspective that a worker can
lead a minimally healthy and cultured life. At the same time, however, the act
provides a clause that attention should be paid to capabilities of business
entities to pay wages.
discussing minimum wage, we must take the idea of national minimum into
consideration. Laws should contain the government’s duties to guarantee the