Panel proposes average minimum wage of more than Y900 for 1st time
Japan Today -- Aug 01
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.

In its guideline on minimum wages, the labor ministry's advisory panel said the average wage needs to be raised by 27 yen from the previous year -- the largest increase since fiscal 2002 when it started using an hourly wage to propose a rough target for hikes.

While minimum wages in Tokyo and Kanagawa will exceed 1,000 yen under the proposal, those in 17 prefectures will remain on the 700 yen level, underlining the gap between metropolitan and rural areas.

Currently, hourly minimum wages are decided by the ministry's regional bureaus in each of Japan's 47 prefectures, taking into account the local economic situation.

Following the proposal submitted by the central government's advisory panel, local panels in each prefecture will recommend revised minimum wages by August. The new minimum hourly wages will be adopted around October.

Although labor unions aiming to boost the income of workers and management seeking to avoid rises in personnel costs clashed in negotiations, the two sides managed to agree on the wage hike, taking into consideration the planned 2-percentage-point tax hike and a labor shortage on the back of Japan's rapidly aging population.

The size of the wage increase was 25 yen in both fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 and 26 yen in fiscal 2018. With the proposed hike of 27 yen in fiscal 2019, or 3.1 percent, the average minimum wage will likely post around a 3 percent increase for the fourth consecutive year.

今年度の最低賃金の目安は過去最大となる27円の引き上げとなりました。現在の方式となってから最大の上げ幅で、全国平均の時給は初めて900円を超えました。 労働者に支払われる最低限の時給は現在、全国平均で874円です。労使の代表と専門家からなる厚生労働省の審議会は今年度の最低賃金の引き上げ幅の目安を3%の27円とするとまとめました。その結果、全国平均が初めて900円を超えて901円となりました。今後、この目安をもとに都道府県ごとに最低賃金が決められ、東京と神奈川では初めて1000円を超える見通しです。 菅官房長官:「賃上げしやすい環境を整備することと相まって、最低賃金、より早期に全国加重平均1000円となることを目指して参りたい」 菅長官は、中小企業や小規模事業者に思い切った支援策を講じることなどで最低賃金1000円を目指す考えを強調しました。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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