Japan PM’s adviser proposes 3% increase in minimum wages

David Atkinson, a member of the government's growth strategy panel, has called for minimum wages to be raised by at least 3% in fiscal 2021.
By: | July 7, 2021

Atkinson, a key adviser to Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga, said the country should use the wage hike to spur smaller businesses with low productivity to adopt new operation models that do not rely on cheap labour. 

He said, despite the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, European countries and the US have increased wages by 5% last year and by between 2% and 4% this year. 

In contrast, Japan’s average minimum wage in fiscal 2020 was raised by a nominal one yen from the previous fiscal year to 902 yen (US$8.1) per hour. 

He said, “Japan’s economy is expected to improve on the back of the spread of COVID-19 vaccinations”, and the country should not keep wage levels almost unchanged for this fiscal year, according to Jiji Press. 

READ: Japan avoids workplace vaccination being concentrated in big cities

The country’s minimum hourly wage has risen almost by the same percentage from 2015 to 2019, increasing from 798 yen (US$7.19) in 2015 to 901 yen (US$8.12) in 2019 and then to 902 yen (US$8.13) in 2020.