Japan to raise average minimum wage by 3.1%
The increase of 28 yen (US$0.25) from the current 902 yen (US$8.18) for fiscal 2021 that runs through March next year would be the highest in recent years. The previous record was the 27-yen (US$0.24) increase in fiscal 2019.
The recommendation by the subcommittee of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Central Minimum Wage Council comes after calls from prime minister Yoshihide Suga to raise the country’s minimum wage to 1,000 yen ($9.07), as the government seeks to boost household consumption amid the prolonged pandemic.
However, this comes at a time when many small and mid-sized businesses are still coping with the effects of the pandemic.
If the proposal is fully implemented, minimum wages in Akita, Tottori and five other prefectures, currently at the lowest level in the country, would rise to 820 yen (US$7.44). This means that minimum wages would be above 800 yen (US$7.25) across the country for the first time, according to Jiji Press.
The government had raised the average minimum wage by about 3% since fiscal 2016 until 2020 when the pandemic hit the country when it inched up by a nominal 1 yen.