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カテゴリーのアイコン Work Life in Japan
Japan's New Minimum Wage - The Highest Ever
Feb 20, 2024
7 min read
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To help the changing economy of Japan, the government has recently decided to raise the minimum wage to raised its minimum wage to 1002 Yen. This is the first time ever that the average minimum wage of the country has passed 1000 yen.

What are the effects and responses?

For students and part-time workers, this new policy can feel like a very positive change. Now, with this 4% increase, you can earn a full 1000 yen for an easy job that doesn’t require any experience! Not bad for adding an onigiri to your lunch.

However, as we will explore in this article, there are many different ways to look at the new minimum wage. Let's look at some of the ways people have responded to it.

Prime Minister Kishida's Response

After a conference with the Labor Department, Prime Minister Kishida had this to say in response:

I welcome it (the wage increase) ... We are working to combine wage increases with taxes so that people have disposable income that does not lose to rising prices. We want to proceed with caution._”

Without much apparent emotion or enthusiasm.

It should be noted that Kishida is often criticized when it comes to discussions about tax.

The comment by Prime Minister Kishida has added more fuel to the voices and jokes made by the Japanese ‘netizens’ (net-citizens).

The Public (Netizens') Response

With the news spreading about Kishida’s comments, many netizens expressed their doubts.

“I bet you didn’t want to say that”

“10% sales tax is too much! Stop taxing us!”

“(I bet Kishida is thinking) Okay, time to raise taxes in return!”

While each individual can be taxed differently, generally Japanese workers are taxed in the following way:

  • People with an income of 3,000,000 Yen will make 2,350,000 Yen after taxes.
  • People with an income of 5,000,000 Yen will make 3,870,000 Yen after taxes.
  • People with an income of 8,000,000 Yen will make 5,880,000 Yen after taxes.
  • People with an income of 10,000,000 Yen will make 7,210,000 Yen after taxes.
  • People with an income of 20,000,000 Yen will make 12,910,000 Yen after taxes.

Depending on the range of your income, you can be taxed anywhere from 10-40%.

The Labor Department's Response

Before the announcement, the average minimum wage was 961 yen, making this change a 41 yen increase - the biggest ever.

It takes a lot of effort for something like this to take effect, so the work of Japan’s politicians is greatly appreciated. However, the representative of the Labor Department said the following:

“I don’t feel it is enough if you look at the increasing cost of living.”

As a Japanese citizen, the Labor Department seems to not only be more in favor of its people, but more logical than the Japanese politicians. There are two sides to every coin, so the increase of the minimum wage may seem good for now… but some may wonder, is it enough?

Credit: frema/@Canva.com

The Minimum Wage in Japan

The minimum wage increase was announced in July of 2023, and is effective beginning in early October. Because the wage increase is different for every prefecture, the actual minimum wage for Japan is now 1004 yen (calculated as the national average).

As we have discussed, rising prices can be felt everywhere in Japan, from food and everyday purchases to rent. Sometimes it may feel as though costs are rising faster than wages. The politicians may have the right idea in also increasing the minimum wage to support such voices, but many people remain uncertain about the future.

Here is a breakdown of the minimum wage by region:

Prefecture Minimum Hourly Wage【Yen】 Increase Rate【%】 Effective Date
Hokkaido 960 (920) 4.3 Oct. 1
Aomori 898 (853) 5.3 Oct. 7
Iwate 893 (854) 4.6 Oct. 4
Miyagi 923 (883) 4.5 Oct. 1
Akita 897 (853) 5.2 Oct. 1
Yamagata 900 (854) 5.4 Oct. 14
Fukushima 900 (858) 4.9 Oct. 1
Ibaraki 953 (911) 4.6 Oct. 1
Tochigi 954 (913) 4.5 Oct. 1
Gunma 935 (895) 4.5 Oct. 5
Saitama 1028 (987) 4.2 Oct. 1
Chiba 1026 (984) 4.3 Oct. 1
Tokyo 1113 (1072) 3.8 Oct. 1
Kanagawa 1112 (1071) 3.8 Oct. 1
Niigata 931 (890) 4.6 Oct. 1
Toyama 948 (908) 4.4 Oct. 1
Ishikawa 933 (891) 4.7 Oct. 8
Fukui 931 (888) 4.8 Oct. 1
Yamanashi 938 (898) 4.5 Oct. 1
Nagano 948 (908) 4.4 Oct. 1
Gifu 950 (910) 4.4 Oct. 1
Shizuoka 984 (944) 4.2 Oct. 1
Aichi 1027 (986) 4.2 Oct. 1
Mie 973 (933) 4.3 Oct. 1
Shiga 967 (927) 4.3 Oct. 1
Kyoto 1008 (968) 4.1 Oct. 6
Osaka 1064 (1023) 4.0 Oct. 1
Hyogo 1001 (960) 4.3 Oct. 1
Nara 936 (896) 4.5 Oct. 1
Wakayama 929 (889) 4.5 Oct. 1
Tottori 900 (854) 5.4 Oct. 5
Shimane 904 (857) 5.5 Oct. 6
Okayama 932 (892) 4.5 Oct. 1
Hiroshima 970 (930) 4.3 Oct. 1
Yamaguchi 928 (888) 4.5 Oct. 1
Tokushima 896 (855) 4.8 Oct. 1
Kagawa 918 (878) 4.6 Oct. 1
Ehime 897 (853) 5.2 Oct. 6
Kochi 897 (853) 5.2 Oct. 8
Fukuoka 941 (900) 4.6 Oct. 6
Shiga 900 (853) 5.5 Oct. 14
Nagasaki 898 (853) 5.3 Oct. 13
Kumamoto 898 (853) 5.3 Oct. 8
Oita 899 (854) 5.3 Oct. 6
Miyazaki 897 (853) 5.2 Oct. 6
Kagoshima 897 (853) 5.2 Oct. 6
Okinawa 896 (853) 5.0 Oct. 8
National Weighted Average 1004 (961) 4.5

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