Office workers cross a street during lunch hour in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file
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Panel proposes average minimum wage of more than ¥900 for 1st time

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Nice if they get paid all the hours they work?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Any increase will simply be swallowed up by the 2% consumption tax increase. Robbing Taro to pay Shintaro.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

System is rigged to keep all the money in Japan so wages really don't matter much. When Japanese people decide they want 'freedom' of choice then prices will go down and salary spending power will increase. Example: Ibuprophen 200mg in Japan 125 yen a pill, USA 2 yen a pill. Can of beer in Japan, 200 yen, USA 400 yen buys you six beers. I can do this all day....

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Just crazy. Minimum wage should be at least 1500 yen. A magnificent raise of 27 yen. Get lost!

No wonder there are so many job vacancies. Who is going to be motivated to get out of bed in the morning for a paltry 900 yen?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

What about Osaka? It’s currently at ¥936. It was recently voted the most expensive city in Japan. Can we get an increase in accordance with the higher prices?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Who is going to be motivated to get out of bed in the morning for a paltry 900 yen?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

This is exactly the reason why LDP put their policy of importing  cheap labor in place so they can please their Keidanren patrons to allow them to further maximize profits for themselves and their invenstors without giving a damn about the impact on Japanese society.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Brace yourselves for price increases! "Oh, yes, sorry - we had to raise prices because we have to pay staff more. Thanks for understanding." (Old price 850 yen, new price 1250 yen)

9 ( +12 / -3 )

900 yen? sjeesh. Do they expect people to live only on cupramen and yoshinoya? .

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The only true minimum wage is 0. Artificially regulating it any higher is a shell game that will never outpace the inflation it inevitably creates. No flick of a politician's pen can defy the basic laws of supply and demand.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

That picture says allot. All is good as long as everybody is wearing the same shirt, pants, name tag and shoes.

System is rigged to keep all the money in Japan so wages really don't matter much. When Japanese people decide they want 'freedom' of choice then prices will go down and salary spending power will increase.

The system here is quite complicated. Protectionism keeps the best products out, while media, academia and group think tells us everybody else, and things are inferior.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

a sharp wage hike would hurt the management of small and medium-sized firms. Some experts have said that large increases in the minimum wage would trigger business contractions and bankruptcies, eventually leading to job cuts.

Does "management" in Japan actually manage anything? They don't manage people's holidays, because most people are never allowed to take them. They haven't been doing a very good job of quality control, because we have had lots of falsification scandals. Now we are told they cannot manage productivity enough to pay people a living wage.

The threat in the quote of "job cuts" isn't a particular problem if the economy has lots of vacancies for low paying jobs.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The only true minimum wage is 0. Artificially regulating it any higher is a shell game that will never outpace the inflation it inevitably creates. No flick of a politician's pen can defy the basic laws of supply and demand.

That's the extreme capitalist view.

But the reality is that the worker needs a safety net to protect them from employers who would take advantage of them - as is seen in places where there is no minimum wage, like in restaurants in the US.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Actually I'm not sure if there is no minimum wage in restaurants in the US, or if it's just really, really low.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To be inline with other OECD countries of higher rank, minimum wage needs to be Ten 1,500 per hour nation wide. A 27 Yen increase per hour is an insult to Japanese workers.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any organisation in Japan who can stand up for the people who have to work on low pay.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@strangerland

With Restaurants and commission based jobs, if your total pay for a pay period does not reach at least the minimum wage standard, then the company must pay you the difference.

Many restaurants have received huge class action suits for this when the took advantage of workers that didn’t know the law.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The workers are represented by members of Nippon Kaigai at government level, look it up! Nothing will change. The LDPs answer for over work...increase the the legal amount of over work from 40hrs a month to 100 and truck drivers, doctors, construction workers not covered by this law. Vile

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Abenomics raised stock prices letting the central government purchase stocks which is very unusual, lowered interest rates to lift real estate prices, invited Olympics and Osaka World Expo to boost economy, kept the exchange rate lower for exporting businesses. Now they are upping the minimum wages to let them buy more to stimulate consumptions. These are not essential but superficial means intended to float Japanese economy temporarilly. When interst begins to go up, horrible things will happen to debt ridden Japan. True need is to launch new industries in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The next step down to working in Japan is slavery lol!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The only true minimum wage is 0

fortunately slavery was made illegal in most 1st 2nd world countries many years ago. How are they set a minimum wage whats the world coming too !? socialism!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As long as the short sighted oyajis at the top continue the inverted pyramid model then Japan is screwed!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A government panel proposed Wednesday that the average hourly minimum wage in Japan should be raised to 901 yen in fiscal 2019, exceeding 900 yen for the first time ever as the consumption tax will be increased in October.

what sort of comment is that ? So, if the minimum wage rises again in the future, will they state the minimum wage rise exceeding 927 yen for the first time EVER. Any increase is the first time ever. ??

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What's the point? Raise salaries and the price of goods will have to go up to pay the salaries. Where does that get us?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Raise salaries and the price of goods will have to go up to pay the salaries

You are completely right the prices of goods are kept as high as possible and wages as low as possible in order to maximize the profit margin.

It shouldn't be this way but that's how a perverted capitalist system works.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

27 yen raise? Ridiculous.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And the government proclaimed,  "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" (ケーキを食べる) and the people responded with. そ です ね。。。

5 ( +6 / -1 )

More than ¥900

I was thinking ¥1000 or so, not just a yen more

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why not just replace the corporate income tax with a ratio pay tax? If CEO makes a certain amount over the lowest paid worker, a percentage of corporate income is charged. Example:

1:1 - 1:5. 0%

1:6 - 1:10. 5%

1:11 - 1:20. 10%

Etc.

This gives incentive for company board to hold back on CEO pay and to boost lowest paid workers (LPW) pay. The levels are total income, not brackets.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's a not even a handful of aluminium coins, unprecedented after 30 plus years of drudgery and "voluntary" overwork it's a happy time I guess, oh..... tax is going up not so much aluminium coins after all. But on the up side wages for politicians are at a 16 year high.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It also encourages small business as the owner of a local bread shop can hardly afford to pay himself 5x more than his workers. Franchises could either be franchiser CEO to franchisee and franchisee to LPW, or franchiser CEO to LPW at any franchise.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Which country are we in ???.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can’t believe it’s that low. Should be 1500yen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually I'm not sure if there is no minimum wage in restaurants in the US, or if it's just really, really low.

Unless the law has changed P/T doesnt count for min wage, they can pay anything they want. My first job in the US was PT and they only paid 2$ an hour

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I never understood the white shirt black bag and pants conformity "rule" What purpose does it serve? The kaze mask, I can understand it helps with tatemae, but why does everybody wear the same shirt and pants?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Strangerland

That's the extreme capitalist view.

No it's not. It's the majority view of economists when polled on this topic. They overwhelmingly agree that minimum wage laws have negative externalities in terms of inflation and unemployment.

But the reality is that the worker needs a safety net to protect them from employers who would take advantage of them

First, please explain how it's even possible for an employer to 'take advantage' of an employee in our society. Employment relationships are entirely consensual. The employee is free to quit at any time and is never forced to work at a wage which he/she is not satisfied with. Any notion that the employer's profits are 'unfair', 'excessive' or amount to 'exploitation' is an entirely subjective opinion that can never be quantified given the impossibility of quantifying adequate compensation for risk.

As far as the safety net, I have no objection to the government taxing profits to provide separate social welfare programs. But using the minimum wage as a quasi-welfare scheme only distorts the market and leads to unintended consequences which few politicians can properly predict or control.

I have two specific questions for you Strangerland. 1.) Is it good that the masses of unemployed youth in Europe (ie. France and Spain) with no work experience whatsoever and no employment prospects are being 'protected' from employers with high minimum wage laws? Would they not be better off spending their days working somewhere for the real market price of labour (below the statutory minimum wage) while still being topped up by government welfare? 2.) Do you think a poor country like Bangladesh should immediately raise its minumum wage to the equivalent of $15usd or even just 900 yen to dramatically increase everyone's living standards? If not, why not? Why won't this increase real living standards?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Poor country, where has the money gone ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most in USA now seek a $15. hour (1628 Yen) wage minimum . Cost of living in Japan about what it costs in USA

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is an insult to all working people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@M3M3M3

That's the extreme capitalist view.

No it's not. It's the majority view of economists when polled on this topic. They overwhelmingly agree that minimum wage laws have negative externalities in terms of inflation and unemployment.

Neoliberalist economists serving the super rich who, while producing nothing but unproven and unpredictable theories, aren't working for minimum wages or less, I presume?

To write "the majority view of economists" is a very poor fallacious argument, an appeal to authority. How can you expect us to take it seriously? Who does? Please state their names specifically.

Here's an actually interesting and proven fact.

As union strength and representation falls, the share of income going to the top 10% rises.

Looking at figures from the USA between 1917 and 2012, the share of income going to workers has fallen from 30% to 10% (approx) while in the same period, the share of income to the top 10% has risen from 30% to 50% (approx).

Furthermore, the inequality of wealth has increased until it is greater in the USA than it is in Bangladesh (where the richest 1% in the USA owns more than the bottom 90%", and the gap between the top 10% and the middle class is over 1,000%).

Workers, and we are disproportionately speaking of women here in Japan, need to be protect from corporate interests that would otherwise cannibalize them.

Humans are not inert commodities that can managed by supply and demand. They have human needs and human rights. You can't just store them in a silo for a couple of years until you need to pull them out to use them again.

Note M3M3M3's enthusiasm for having society bear the external costs of corporate interests by having to pay for their welfare.

In Japan, since Koizumi we have seen terrible American policies imported, such as the demise of lifetime employment policies that have left more than a third of the country's workforce underworked and underpaid, and workers made homeless as their accommodation was tied to the companies they worked for.

Chinese, Vietnamese and other foreign "trainees" can make as little as 300 yen per hour. Not even enough to buy a coffee.  Japan had a gender wage gap of about 26%. 

The American Right and Neoliberals love to portray wealth as evidence of the individuals' virtue and hard work, but it's not. It's the fruit of a rigged system largely based on the accident of birth where race and sex are the predominant definers.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Great post, pacificwest

"Artificially regulating it any higher is a shell game..." 

If governments didn't "artificially regulate" capitalism, we'd still be in the industrial revolution. Remember that? Rampant child labor, no weekends, almost no holidays, starvation wages, 90% poverty rate, genocidal levels of pollution, etc.

Make capitalism great again!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thank you. I may blow that praise next and most certainly have those neoliberal economists mentioned above spitting out their coffee.

Minimum wages should be tied to the cost of property, not even land as in Japan (insanely, they have rigged property to devalue in the same way an old automobile does, rather than increase in value as an investment like it does in Europe, the land have a relative stable value).

And wages should be tied to fluctuations/increases in house/land prices.

Housing, the ability to own a family sized property, should be a human right and not left to the roulette wheel of "the market".

Say, something like an average salary should be at least 1/3 of the price of a home, and not some tin door, rabbit hutch, single room in a Stalinist concrete block as most workers are forced to live in.

One of the great con trick of "the free marketeers", if that is who we are speaking about, is that not everythiing is in "the market". They've designed it to profit themselves, at the cost of others. Women's labor being the first that comes to mind. They've designed it to value their labor far greater than an ordinary laborer, even though they produce nothing.

It's not a level playing field. It's tilted like Everest and blatantly excludes large proportions.

It's not "supply and demand", it's monopolistic class and dynastic control.

Then, on top of that, there is the great banking system con trick (that would take someone more intelligent than me to explain).

Every time banks make a loan, they create imaginery money out of nothing.

They can create imaginery money out of nothing, but you have to labor real time and energy to pay them back with real money. With interest on top.

To underline the need for reform, in Japan you end up paying interest on the full price of a mortgage (now into 2 generation mortgages) for an asset that is depreciating as you do so, to the point where it is worth nothing before you've even paid it off. And then have to pay more to destroy it, when you sell the land it is on.

On top of contractless "despatch labor" it is a nothing less than an economic slave collar that is leading to armies of homeless temporary laborers. Is that really the society you want to live in? The neoliberals would argue, it's their own fault.

Housing, as a human necessity, property even, should be outside of the speculative market.

May be we need to lower the pay of private English teacher to equal that of counter staff at Lawsons too? ¥927 per hour sounds fair to me.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They spent a whole night and agreed to just 27¥? How much tax will be increased then?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Minimum Wages are great for employees but bad for Employers. Start-up's or old-fashioned family run Companies will need to scrutinize more closely whether an extra person is actually worth it.

Presumably there are exceptions... rather than being across the board. If not, then, this does not bode well for Japan. Watch the Official Suicide statistics.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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