August 11, 2019
Tokyo--Minimum hourly wages in Japan will rise by 27 yen to 901 yen on average in fiscal 2019, which started in April, from the previous year, the labor ministry said Friday.
The minimum wages will be raised as early as October. Among the country's 47 prefectures, Kagoshima, which had the lowest minimum hourly wage in fiscal 2018, will have the largest hike, of 29 yen.
The gap between the highest minimum wage and the lowest will shrink by one yen to 223 yen, narrowing for the first time in 16 years.
Tokyo will have the largest minimum wage, at 1,013 yen. Tokyo and Kanagawa will see their minimum wages exceed 1,000 yen for the first time. Kagoshima and 14 others will have the lowest minimum wage, at 790 yen.
A total of 19 prefectures agreed to raise their minimum wages above recommended levels. Kagoshima decided to add 3 yen to its recommended hike of 26 yen.
Minimum wages are the lowest hourly pay that employers must provide to their workers. Increasing such wages will help improve the treatment of part-time workers.
Every summer, the Central Minimum Wages Council, a labor ministry advisory panel, decides a recommended minimum wage hike for each of the 47 prefectures divided into four ranks, based on income, prices and other factors. Based on the recommendations, prefectural wage councils decide their minimum wages.
For fiscal 2019, the ministry panel suggested that the top tier, which includes Tokyo and Kanagawa, raise the minimum wage by 28 yen, the second tier by 27 yen and the third and fourth tier by 26 yen. Kagoshima is in the fourth tier. Jiji Press
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