Minimum hourly wages in all 47 prefectures will top 700 yen for the first time, according to revisions the prefectures have made to their minimum wage benchmarks. The national average will jump 25 yen from the present level to 823 yen, marking the largest-ever increase since data compilation began in 2002. Increases to be implemented by Kochi, Tottori, and four other prefectures exceed the minimum wage hike benchmarks that a panel in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recommended based on each region. Personnel shortages are becoming serious in rural communities due to depopulation. Many prefectures are trying to secure manpower by increasing minimum wages.
In July, MHLW’s central commission on minimum wage decided to raise the national weighted average of minimum wage by 24 yen and proposed prefectures adopt increases ranging from 25 to 21 yen based on their economic conditions. Regional panels in the 47 prefectures have recently reported their proposed increases to chiefs of regional labor bureaus. These will be gradually implemented from October after being officially approved.
Tokyo offers the highest hourly wage at 932 yen, whereas Miyazaki and Okinawa have the lowest wage at 714 yen. A wage hike of 25 yen was proposed for Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka, and metropolitan areas. Prefectures in the Tohoku and Kyushu region were offered a 21 yen hike. At present, minimum wages remain in the 600 yen range in 16 prefectures, including Aomori, Tokushima, Kochi, Saga, and Okinawa. After revisions are implemented, the minimum wage will top 700 yen in all prefectures. (Abridged)