Japan expects to hit minimum wage milestone in 2023

The hike is seen as crucial for overall wage growth despite organisations struggling to secure employees amid a labour shortage.
By: | August 1, 2023

In a move aimed at bolstering economic recovery and addressing labour shortages, a labour ministry panel in Japan has proposed raising the average hourly minimum wage to ¥1,002 (US$7.08). This would mark a record 4.3% increase from the current average of ¥961 (US$6.79) if approved.

Japan set the target of achieving an average minimum wage of ¥1,000 (US$7.07) in 2015, a milestone which Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has emphasised the importance of reaching this year.

2022 witnessed a record increase in the minimum wage, prompting Kishida to call for thorough discussions within the minimum wage panel, comprising representatives from the government, labour, and management, to work towards achieving the nationwide average of ¥1,000.

The proposed increase in the minimum wage comes at a time when the Japanese economy has been recovering momentum post-pandemic, but many organisations have been facing challenges in securing employees due to the prevailing labour shortage. Despite more organisations demonstrating a willingness to pay higher wages to offset the impact of price hikes, organisations may still face challenges in attracting employees even if the average minimum wage surpasses ¥1,000, reported The Japan Times.

READ MORE: Japan focuses on accelerating wage growth in fiscal 2023

During the annual spring negotiations between labour unions and organisations, known as shuntо̄, an average wage hike of 3.58% was agreed upon, marking a 30-year high, according to a report by the Japanese Trade Union Conference, Rengo.