Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Labour Standards Bureau

Creating an environment where people can work with a strong motivation and a sense of security as well as in good heath.

The Labour Standards Bureau is implementing various measures designed to establish and improve working conditions, including the reduction of working hours; to secure the safety and health of workers; and to provide appropriate workmen's accident compensation. It is also promoting a comprehensive measure to enrich the lives of working people.

To secure and improve working conditions

The Labour Standard Bureau basically aims to realize the lives of workers that are mentally and physically sound as well as relaxed and comfortable. It also works not only to secure workers' minimum working conditions and maintain such conditions above a certain level, but also to positively address issues arising from changes in social and economic situations.
The Labour Standards Bureau is administering supervision and guidance to secure legal working conditions, such as a clear indication of working conditions and the management of working hours stipulated in the laws governing labour standards.
In response to the increase in disputes between labour and management concerning dismissal, personnel reshuffles, etc, the Labour Standards Bureau is trying to make positive use of a system to help solve such disputes, which is intended for chiefs of the Labour Bureaus of the Metropolitan and prefectural governments to provide advice and guidance for earliest settlement of these disputes by investigating and studying the facts based on claims from both labour and management in order to encourage voluntary settlement between the parties involved.
Laws related to the labour standard administration include: the labor standard law, workers' safety and health law, pneumoconiosis prevention law, minimum wage law, family labour law, and the law to secure the payment of wages, and employees' accident compensation insurance law. the Metropolitan and prefectural Labour Bureaus (a total of 47 bureaus) and the Labour Standard Inspection Offices (a total of 343 offices plus4 branches) are established and in operation as unified national labour standard administrative agencies.

The labour standard inspection office is mainly engaged in the following work:

1 Supervision and guidance for businesses
2 Judicial punishment against serious and vicious violations of laws
3 Handling of applications for approval and reports submitted by business owners
4 Dealing with declarations and consultations
5 Inspection of the safety of manufacturing facilities
6 Carrying out investigations of accidents and statistical surveys
7 Payment of employees' accident compensation of insurance

Measures to secure minimum wages

The minimum wages, which are an important part of working conditions, are stipulated according to the minimum wage law and employers must pay employees wages in the amount required by the law or above that level.
The minimum wages are classified into two types - minimum wages by region that apply to all workers in each of the Metropolitan and prefectures and those by industry that apply to main workers in specific industries.

Temporary payment of unpaid wages for employees

In accordance with the law to secure payment of wages, the government pays, on behalf of defaulting employers due to business failures or other reasons, part of unpaid wages to workers, who have retired without receipt of their wages.

Aiming at the reduction of working hours

A reduction in working hours has become a national issue which must be addressed to realize the rich and comfortable life of workers.
A plan titled "An ideal economic society and policy guidelines for economic rebirth," which was decided at the Cabinet meeting of July 1999, proposes "achievement and establishment of 1,800 working hours a year through the reduction of non-scheduled working hours and other means" as an important government policy. The government promotes measures for shorter working hours, with the strict observance of a forty-hour week, encouragement to take annual paid leave and reduction in overtime work as three main pillars.

Promotion of increased use of workers' insurance and appropriate collection of insurance premium

At the time of yearly renewal of workers' insurance or during the "Month for Promotion of Increased Use of Workers' Insurance" held in October every year, the Labour Standards Bureau is promoting measures to thoroughly familiarize employees with the workers' insurance system and eliminate work related to unfinished procedures for the insurance in order to make a fair and appropriate collection of workers' insurance premium, which is a source of income for workers' accident compensation insurance, unemployment insurance benefits, various welfare services, employment security work and professional ability development work.