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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

Japan eyes hikes in starting pay for SDF members

  • September 24, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 12:22 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Defense Ministry is considering increasing the starting pay for Self-Defense Forces members from fiscal 2020 beginning in April next year, according to informed sources.

The ministry aims to narrow the wage gap between SDF members and police officers in a bid to lure more applicants to the SDF, the sources said.

After negotiations with the Finance Ministry, the Defense Ministry hopes to submit a bill to revise the law on wages for its employees to an extraordinary parliamentary session that will start on Oct. 4.

Currently, the initial monthly pay for fixed-term SDF member candidates is set at 133,500 yen and that for cadets for SDF personnel employed for life at 169,900 yen, both lower than 171,200 yen set for police officers hired by the central government.

The ministry aims to increase the starting pay for SDF member candidates by some 20,000 yen and several thousands of yen for cadets for permanent positions.

Necessary annual costs for the pay hikes are estimated at hundreds of millions of yen.

The number of newly recruited SDF members fell for five straight years from fiscal 2014, as many people found jobs at private-sector companies amid the Japanese economy’s recovery. The decline also reflected the county’s falling birthrate.

In fiscal 2018, the ministry hired 7,075 people as SDF member candidates, or about 70 pct of the planned number of new hires, at 9,882.

In its mid-term defense program adopted late last year, the Japanese government said it will step up efforts for improving the working conditions for SDF members, including wages. As part of its recruitment efforts, the ministry has raised the maximum age of applicants and relaxed body mass index standards.

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