The legally-set minimum hourly wage in Japan will rise by ¥27 to ¥901 on average in fiscal 2019, which started in April, from the previous year, the labor ministry said Friday.
The minimum wage 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.
The gap between the highest minimum wage and the lowest will shrink by ¥1 to ¥223, narrowing for the first time in 16 years.
Tokyo will have the highest minimum wage, at ¥1,013. Tokyo and Kanagawa will see their minimum wages exceed ¥1,000 for the first time. Kagoshima and 14 others will have the lowest minimum wage, at ¥790.
A total of 19 prefectures agreed to raise their minimum wages above recommended levels. Kagoshima decided to add ¥3 to its recommended hike of ¥26.
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, the second tier by ¥27 and the third and fourth tier by ¥26. Kagoshima is in the fourth tier.