Minimum wages to top govt recommendation in 22 prefectures

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A government subcommittee discusses a proposal to increase minimum wages in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo on Aug. 1.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Minimum hourly wages for fiscal 2022 will rise more than recommended by the government in 22 of 47 prefectures, the labor ministry said Tuesday.

None of the 47 underperformed the recommended margin of ¥30-31 amid soaring prices of daily necessities and many other items.

The national weighted average of minimum wages stands at ¥961, up ¥31 from the previous year. The new minimum wages will take effect on or after Oct. 1.

Kochi and Okinawa prefectures, each of which has the lowest minimum hourly wage of ¥820 by prefecture, plans a hike of ¥33 to ¥853. Six prefectures including Ehime and Saga where the minimum wages are ¥821 will see a rise of ¥32 to ¥853. The minimum wages will rise ¥33 to ¥854 in Iwate and Tottori.

Tokyo’s minimum wage, currently highest at ¥1,041, will increase ¥31 to ¥1,072. Kanagawa plans a hike of ¥31 to ¥1,071.

The gap between the highest and lowest minimum wages will shrink by ¥2 to ¥221.

“Hikes above the recommended levels are seen particularly in rural areas probably because labor shortages are more serious,” said Hisashi Yamada, researcher at Japan Research Institute Ltd.

Minimum wages are the lowest pay employers are allowed to provide to their workers.

Every year, the Central Minimum Wages Council, which advises the labor minister, decides a recommended minimum wage hike for each of the 47 prefectures, divided into four ranks based on their economic situations and other factors. Prefectural wage councils take into account the recommended margins when deciding the minimum wages for their prefectures.

For fiscal 2022, the ministry council suggested that the first- and second-tier groups raise the minimum wage by ¥31 and the third- and fourth-tier groups by ¥30.