Panel urges tiny minimum wage raises

Twelve prefectures will likely raise their minimum wage levels by as little as 2 yen and no higher than 30 yen an hour. The small increase reflects the grim economic situation.

A subcommittee of the Central Minimum Wages Council, an advisory panel to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, proposed Tuesday the slight raise for the 12 prefectures, where minimum wage levels are lower than welfare benefit payments.

For the remaining 35 prefectures, the subcommittee stopped short of suggesting the margin of raises. They will either maintain the current minimum wage or make only a fractional increase.

If the panel’s recommendations are adopted, the national average floor wage–the lowest legally permitted wage–is expected to rise to 710-712 yen an hour, an increase of 7-9 yen.