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Young people mount campaign to raise minimum wage, end poverty

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Good luck to them. I don't know how people get by on some of the lowest wages that get offered in Japan.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

And, at the other end of the scale you have all these old parasites sitting in offices doing nothing and sucking up billions of yen so they can play golf.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Too bad the article does not mention that only 6 prefectures are actually above the "average" of 832 per hour (but they are the most populated areas), while the other 41 prefecture are below this average, with nearly half in the 714 - 718 range. No wonder the countryside is emptying.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Unfortunately, this idea has already been implemented in some places like Seattle and Australia. What happened is prices for goods, services and consumables sky rocketed and now you have whole lot of broke people making $15 an hour with nothing changing. Still broke with the $15. It is a shame they can't make the $15 an hour without prices changing.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

With the minimum hourly wage raised to 1,500 yen, workers could earn more than 3 million yen a year, a level that would enable them to receive necessary medical services while expanding the scope of their options in life

That's what I've been advocating for ages. In US they have the fight for 15. Japan is starting. Good on these young people for finally doing something about that.

At that level of annual income, workers cannot even afford to go to hospital, she said.

Make health care completely free.

She borrowed money to complete her college education. Her monthly repayment of 15,000 yen will continue for 30 years

Why can't Japan make college, like high school, free? Just do it?

He said his clients at the union include a nursery facility employee who was dismissed after making critical comments about the employer and a nonregular worker who received power harassment from the superior.

There needs to be WAY more rights for non full timers.

Some companies sell their products for unduly low prices as the price-cutting race has intensified, Hashiguchi said. "As a result, workers are paid inappropriately."

And that, in a nutshell is why we have deflation

If their wages are low, workers will spend less, leaving Japan's overall consumption slack, he said, adding low-margin, high volume business will spread further. "If the minimum hourly wage is raised to 1,500 yen, consumption will be invigorated, helping turn around the economy."

Halleujah! SOMEBODY FINALLY got it!! Get this gentleman to run the BOJ-even better- Kick the muppet out and put this guy as PM. Then you'll see things start to move around quickly.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Crazy that in a nation like Japan the minimum wage is as low as 830 yen on average or lower. How the heck could people survive with those wages? I'd understand if we were in the year 2005 but in 2017!?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Fact, in the OECD Japan once again ranks lowest for basic wage, good job Mr Abe. How's the bowel?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Raise minimum wage will give a temporary feeling of relief. It has never been a solution.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Good luck guys, I hope this turn out to be a big movement with results.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Who thinks that it will help? Just look at the "Happiest people in the world" countries up north. Everything is so expensive that people still live in relative poverty, even if they have free healthcare and free education.

But there is an easy solution to all these problems which is always overlooked due to banks and big money pressure. Take away the ability to make money from the banks and put it back at the hands of the government. There is no need to take debt to cover all the expenses. Debt is made up because of man made law which CAN be changed, if there is willingness.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Even 1500 is not enough to live the big city. This is why young people don't marry and live with their parents. They couldn't survive otherwise.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Unfortunately, this idea has already been implemented in some places like Seattle and Australia. What happened is prices for goods, services and consumables sky rocketed and now you have whole lot of broke people making $15 an hour with nothing changing. Still broke with the $15.

Disagree, prices didn't 'skyrocket' (dunno about your Seattle example though). This 'idea' as you call it has been implemented in many countries for decades and inflation has been steady since (at around 2%/year). 

No one's saying $15.00 per hour means the end of poverty, it doesn't. What it does mean though is that a massive chunk of the population no longer needs 2-3 jobs and 60h/week to simply put food on the table.

Japan has one of the lowest (if not the lowest alongside the us) minimum wage among the top 10-12 economies. 900jpy/hour in a city like Tokyo is pure madness.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What happens to the people who don't have a job at all? How are they going to pay for the hospital visit and education?

My view is that middle to upper class and rich people should 'pay for themselves'. Everyone's taxes should be cut drastically as a result.

The tax that we do all continue to pay ought be spent on ensuring the needy are provided for adequately. Be they in low-skilled work, or in no work at all. With an adequate income for the needy secured by taxes from the rest of us, the needy too could then make choices about the services they require and the price they are willing to pay for it.

This implies that competition is introduced to various sectors of the economy. The good service providers will survive and thrive and the inefficient ones will die.

I think this way would help to alleviate poverty far better than attempts to fix the price of labour, which could result in all sorts of economic distortions.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I had a low paying part time job when I was in high school but I never considered myself to be living in poverty.

It was good work experience for me when I was young and relatively unskilled though.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

when PM, Aso said 1200yen if OK for a cup of coffee. it is an example of socio-economic disparity, when leaders are totally out of touch with not just young struggling low paid workers, but also the senior citizens also forced to work.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good for them and i wish them well both here and in the States but nations have always been built off the back of the "disposable" working class, so i doubt anything will change really. Looking to the future robots will do it, so where does that leave the working and middle class - obsolete i guess.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I had a low paying part time job when I was in high school but I never considered myself to be living in poverty.

High schoolers have less expenses to worry about, but I'm guessing your parents were supporting you at the time anyway. Of course you didn't consider yourself to be living in poverty.

Some people, for whatever reasons, have no choice but to support themselves with long hard hours in low-skilled part-time jobs that our society still requires. Don't they deserve to live in relative comfort?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The crazy thing is that despite the massive differences in cost of living in this country (expensive in Tokyo, incredibly cheap in rural prefectures) there is very little variance in the minimum wage (which is set by prefectures).

The lowest minimum wage is in Okinawa and Miyazaki, at 714 Yen per hour. The highest is Tokyo, at 932 Yen per hour. So only 218 Yen per hour separates the highest and lowest minimums. 714 Yen is way too low, but even so 714 Yen will take you way further in Miyazaki than 932 Yen in Tokyo.

I think the minimum wage needs to go up across all prefectures, but I wouldn't support a uniform national minimum wage of 1500 Yen. People need way more to get by in the big urban centres like Tokyo and Osaka than they do in rural Kyushu or Shikoku and the minimum wages should reflect this disparity way more than they do now. 1500 Yen would represent a lifeline for Tokyo conbini workers, but would be more of a windfall for Miyazaki ones.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm guessing your parents were supporting you at the time anyway

You are absolutely correct.

But you see, what is proposed is that it be made illegal for employers like the one that gave me those jobs when I was young, to do so. In the name of helping the needy. I think the intentions are noble, but could potentially have very negative consequences - such as denying youngsters like I once was the opportunity to work.

Isn't there therefore a better solution to the problem?

Don't they deserve to live in relative comfort?

It is a hallmark of a developed community for it to ensure all its people have adequate means to live.

I just don't see that central planners circumventing market forces to manipulate labour prices is the best way to go about achieving that.

A minimum wage certainly doesn't help people with no job at all - why is the discussion / debate not focused more generically on ensuring that all people are guaranteed adequate means by which to live?

Perversely a minimum wage hike could hurt the most vulnerable in society - those without jobs - through higher consumer costs.

A more holistic solution is surely required, rather than piecemeal manipulation of wages for certain types of job.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

People need way more to get by in the big urban centres like Tokyo and Osaka than they do in rural Kyushu or Shikoku

This is very true. I should think that it would be more appropriate for local prefectural governments to work to prevent poverty in their communities according to local circumstances.

This ought apply to both those with and without jobs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's curious that I was happy to work for the low wages that I worked for as a youngster, and yet a few people here would give my comment to that effect the 'thumbs down'.

The wage that I agreed to work for was no business of anyone's except my own and my former employer.

People should realize that they are on the wrong track when their best idea would deny my the right to exercise my own personal freedom at no detriment to anyone else, and certainly not myself.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The problem with the Japanese political mindset is they think it is a privilege to just survive. I think thrive and grow is not even in their vocabulary. Talk to any old Japanese man and they will tell you story after story how they survived on rice and miso soup period. Many parts of the world Including Japan are very wealthy countries now, but those old Japanese politicians still have a poor mindset with all their wealth.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

[Its founding members were inspired by the Fight for $15 movement in the United States, which was set up in 2012 by fast-food workers in New York City to demand higher wages and better working conditions.]

I can assure you not every state has a great or even good minimum wage nor grand working conditions. NY seems to be the best of them by a large margin, as far as being paid anyway. But I know just renting a very small apartment there costs a lot of money as well.

[the average minimum wage in Japan was 823 yen per hour in fiscal 2016]

That is about the same for the US on average, with maybe even the US a dollar less.

[At that level of annual income, workers cannot even afford to go to hospital, she said.]

Even before and after Obama Care people still can not go to the doctor. I need one tooth replaced and it will cost me at least $1,500 just to get it fixed, AFTER insurance. WTF!? Actually that was years ago, I suspect it is probably well over $2,000 by now.

[Even 1500 is not enough to live the big city. This is why young people don't marry and live with their parents. They couldn't survive otherwise.]

They could, they simply choose not to, because it is just easier or at least financially so. That is speaking from an American stand point however. I have only been to Japan once, so I do not know their prices. But if the Japanese are like Americans, it is not impossible.

Good luck to higher wages though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fact that unemployment in Japan is at near record lows (and labour shortages are only predicted to get worse) means that the biggest concern about raising the minimum wage (fewer jobs) is probably less pressing.

That said, the reason people need more money is because the cost of living keeps rising. Will raising the minimum wage simply exacerbated that problem? I don't know, and I don't really trust PhDs in Economics to be able to predict this either. I'm very much on the fence about this.

In other countries like Australia or Denmark there were fairly generous social welfare programs in place to catch people if the rise in the minimum wage had any adverse consequences. In Japan there is very little so experimentation might be risky. We should probably tread carefully and very slowly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That said, the reason people need more money is because the cost of living keeps rising. Will raising the minimum wage simply exacerbated that problem? I don't know, and I don't really trust PhDs in Economics to be able to predict this either.

Someone with a PhD in economics might point out that the cost of living in Japan has been flat for the past 25 years. The consumer price index in 1993 and the consumer price index in 2014 were the same (compared to the US where it doubled over the same period), and never ventured far from its starting point over the entire period.

So the cost of living hasn't risen in literally decades.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@rainyday

the cost of living in Japan has been flat for the past 25 years.

Yes, that's very true in Japan and it's probably why these calls for an increase will be ignored. I was thinking more about other places where such dramatic increases in the minimum wage have been demanded and actually implemented.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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