4        Realization of Meaningful,
      Secure Employment for Workers    

X. Measures relating to wages

A. Minimum wage system
B. Improvement of the wage and retirement allowance systems
C. Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Wage System Support Service
D. Measures to ensure payment of wages

Wages are a key component of working conditions. The following measures are being taken to ensure and improve the payment thereof.

A. Minimum wage system

Under Japan's minimum wage system, a minimum limit on wages is set. The system stipulates that an employer must pay the employee that minimum amount or higher, in compliance with the Minimum Wages Law.
      Minimum wages consist of those according to region (applied to all workers in a specific region) and those according to industry (applied to all workers in a specific industry throughout Japan or in a specific region) (please refer to the following table).
      Minimum wages in Japan are determined by the Minister of Labour or the Chief of the Prefectural Labour Standards Office, and adjusted taking into consideration changes in economic and other affairs, as recommended by the Minimum Wage Council.
      The Ministry of Labour is carrying out a range of publicity activities nationwide, centered on the annual ten-day campaign to distribute information on minimum wages (November 21-30). In addition to informing people of the revisions, supervision and guidance are provided in an effort to ensure payment of minimum wages.

Minimum Wage Poster

Minimum wages by region ;47 regions
Highest level per day :¥5,465 (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka)
Lowest level per day :¥4,712 (Miyazaki)
Minimum wages by industry :251 industries
Highest level per day :¥7,280 (Kochi, general trucking business)
Lowest level per day :¥4,928 (Saga, manufacture of ceramic ware)
Regional minimum wages based on the labor agreement extension system:2 cases

B. Improvement of the wage and retirement allowance systems

The Labour Standards Bureau of each prefecture sets up the Wage Research Committee, Wage Consultation Office and so on to advise,support and provide information on the wage and retirement allowance systems.
      In order to study the favorable way of the wage and retirement allowance systems, the Ministry of Labour conduct some researches based on the collection and analysis of recent cases of improvement in the systems.

C. Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Wage System Support Service

Recently, public sentiment has demonstrated strong support for establishing and improving the wage system to meet the rapidly changing socioeconomic conditions in Japan.Under such conditions,in order to assist small and medium sized enterprises and their groups which are attempting to improve and organize their wage systems, the government has launched various activities including the following services; preparing model wage systems matched to the realities of particular companies, formulating and providing voluntary inspection charts, and holding appropriate seminars.

FY1998 Personnel and Wage Seminar

D. Measures to ensure payment of wages

In order to improve and strengthen measures to ensure the payment of wages, which is most important for the stability of workers' livelihood, we are taking the following measures under the Security of Wage Payment Law:
1. Payment by the Government, on behalf of employers, of a certain portion of unpaid wages to workers who were forced to leave jobs without receiving wages, due to a company bankruptcy
2. Efforts to ensure employers take the necessary measures to preserve intra-company deposits, so these could be returned to the workers if necessary
3. Efforts to ensure employers take measures equivalent to those in 2. above regarding retirement allowances
4. Measures to require employers that delay payments to retiring workers pay 14.6% interest for the delay period

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