Average minimum hourly wage to rise 15 yen to 728 yen in Japan

A government advisory panel is expected to recommend Friday that a weighted-average hourly minimum wage in Japan be raised by 15 yen to 728 yen for fiscal 2010 that started in April, government sources said Thursday.

The increase would exceed 10 yen for fiscal 2009 and be the fourth consecutive double-digit increase. The government’s growth strategy, adopted in June, calls for raising the minimum hourly wage in each of the 47 Japanese prefectures to at least 800 yen as early as possible.

The recommendation by the Central Minimum Wages Council seeks to raise the minimum hourly wage by some 10 yen in 41 prefectures and by 13 to 30 yen in the other six prefectures where minimum wage income slips far below welfare benefits, the sources said.

The recommended increase stands at 30 yen in Tokyo and Kanagawa, at 15 yen in Kyoto, at 14 yen in Osaka and Saitama, and at 13 yen in Hokkaido.

If the recommendation is accepted, welfare benefits’ excess over minimum wage income will be eliminated in Aomori, Akita, Saitama and Chiba prefectures. Such excess will still exist in Hokkaido and Tokyo, and Miyagi, Kanagawa, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Hiroshima prefectures.