Japan pushes for higher wages across regions
The Japanese government plans to boost minimum wages across its regions as part of its efforts to tackle the overconcentration of people in Tokyo and ensure sustainable economic growth, officials said, reports The Japan Times.
It aims to achieve a national average of ¥1,000 (US$9.14) per hour and narrow the pay gap between regions, according to a draft of the government’s annual economic and fiscal policy guidelines.
The guidelines call for an increase in minimum wages this year to continue around a 3% hike as seen in four consecutive years through fiscal year 2019.
The national average minimum wage in fiscal 2020, which ended this March, was ¥902 (US$8.24), lower than in many parts of Europe and in the United States. This was one of the reasons cited to increase the minimum wage as soon as possible.
In fiscal year 2020, Tokyo registered the highest minimum wage, at ¥1,013 (US$926), while Akita, Tottori, Shimane, Kochi, Saga, Oita and Okinawa recorded the lowest, at ¥792 (US$7.24), among Japan’s 47 prefectures.
Business lobby groups have however resisted raising the minimum wage, saying that the pandemic could cause unemployment among firms struggling to get by.