Prefectural minimum wages for fiscal 2017 have risen to a national average of 848 yen per hour, up 25 yen over the previous fiscal year.
Regional Minimum Wage Councils (tripartite bodies comprising representatives of the public interest, labour, and management) had been discussing prefectural levels following the announcement of guidelines earlier in the year by the government's Central Minimum Wage Council. All of Japan's 47 prefectures have now decided their fiscal 2017 minimum wages, which will be put into force during the period from September 30 to October 13.
Tokyo has the highest minimum wage at 958 yen, up 26 yen. Eight prefectures, including Okinawa and Tottori, have the lowest at 737 yen, which is more than 220 yen less than Tokyo's.
In council meetings, RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) argued that since prefectural levels remained low and interregional differences were widening, the minimum wage should be increased quickly to above 800 yen in all prefectures. As a result, the ratio of the lowest amount to the highest amount in fiscal 2017 rose to 76.9%, an improvement for the third consecutive year. (The corresponding figure for fiscal 2016 was 76.6%.)
The Central Minimum Wage Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare had proposed hikes ranging from of 22 yen to 26 yen, depending on economic conditions and other factors. There were four prefectures that finally decided on hikes that were 1 yen higher than the government's proposals: Niigata (up 25 yen to 778 yen), Tottori (up 23 yen to 738 yen), and Miyazaki and Okinawa (both up 23 yen to 737 yen).