FY 2022 minimum wages in Japan likely to rise

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Tokyo metropolitan government buildings, foreground, are seen in April 2020.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A subcommittee of a Japanese government advisory panel on Monday held last-minute talks on fiscal 2022 minimum wages, with the labor and management sides agreeing that the floor wages should be raised.

Both sides see the need to increase the country’s minimum wages as prices have risen for a wide range of daily necessities due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the yen’s rapid weakening.

But the subcommittee of the Central Minimum Wages Council, which advises the labor minister, failed to reach a conclusion on the recommended size of increase in minimum wages and other issues, planning to resume its talks on Wednesday.

The focal point is whether the subcommittee will recommend a minimum wage increase that exceeds a hike of ¥28 proposed in the previous year, which was the largest since fiscal 2002, when the country started measuring minimum wages on an hourly basis.

Japan’s average minimum hourly wages, currently standing at ¥930, have been rising by at least ¥20 since fiscal 2016, excluding fiscal 2020, when the focus was placed on maintaining jobs amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Each prefecture sets its minimum wages by using as a guide the amount proposed by the subcommittee.

The subcommittee brings together representatives from the labor and management sides as well as experts.

In the latest negotiations, the labor side calls for increasing minimum wages as living conditions are becoming severe due to sharp price increases.

The management side claims that a large increase in minimum wages could jeopardize the continuation of business operations.