Abe Cautious on Minimum Wage Hike amid Virus Crisis
Tokyo, June 3 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday expressed reservations about raising the minimum wage in the nation for fiscal 2020, which began in April, due to the economic hardships caused by the novel coronavirus.
"The effects of the coronavirus crisis on employment and the economy are severe, and it is of the utmost priority for both the private and public sectors to work for protecting employment," Abe said at a meeting of a panel on building a social security system benefiting all generations.
The comment came at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic is putting a strain on labor conditions, with a spike in furloughed employees and a decrease of nonregular workers.
The minimum wage in Japan has continuously been raised by around 3 pct annually in recent years. But Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura urged the government to freeze the hike for fiscal 2020 as many companies are firing employees or refusing to renew contracts for some workers, or going bankrupt amid the epidemic.
Abe instructed labor minister Katsunobu Kato to consider the circumstances of small companies in deciding whether to raise the minimum wage.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]