DPJ leaders propose slashing lawmaker salaries by 14%

by Natsuko Fukue

Staff Writer

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s executive members decided Monday to slash legislators’ salaries by about 14 percent — nearly double the 7.8 percent pay cut for civil servants approved by the Diet last week.

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi proposed cutting ¥3 million from the average lawmaker’s salary in an apparent attempt to ease simmering public frustration with its plan to double the sales tax.

On average, national lawmakers make about ¥21 million a year, including bonuses.

“The bill to slash civil servants’ salaries cleared the Diet. Now we’re going to ask all lawmakers to sacrifice themselves,” Koshiishi said at a press conference, adding that all of the party’s executives agreed on the proposal.

Koshiishi said his next task is to get the rest of the party on board this week before asking the opposition to back the proposal.

The decision came after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday in a debate with opposition leaders that he would try to reduce Diet salaries by more than 10 percent.

The cut in civil servants’ pay will save the government about ¥580 billion that will be redirected to the Tohoku reconstruction budget.