Anonymous student post
In recently, the pay differential between the high-income earner and the low-income earner has widened in Japan. For example, low-income earners are day laborers, temporary employees, part-time workers, and so on. If I am earning minimum wage, I think I will have a lot of struggles.
First, my working hours will be very long. The labor standards law say that people work an eight-hour day. But many jobs don’t keep to the law actually. When I did part-time job at a Japanese bar, I really felt it. I worked longer than 8 hours in a day, also my wages were not high. If I am a day laborer and temporary employee, my income is not really stable and I can’t expect when I might lose my job. Second, the working environment is not good. Do you know 3K roudou in Japanese? It is defined as Kitsui (hard), Kitanai (dirty), Kiken (dangerous). It is a very low wage, but very hard work.
However, I have to pay a lot of money to live. For example, there are house rent, fuel and lighting, food expenses, and so on. If I lose my job, I can’t pay that. It is very hard for me. Therefore, people who don’t have a home has increased these days. According to Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, the number of net café refugees has increased recently. “Net café refugees are people who are essentially homeless, take up temporary residence in internet cafés or manga kissa (comic book cafés)” (Anne Alison, 2013, p44). In net cafés, we can sleep, drink juice and soup, watch TV, take a shower, and so on. In addition to that, there are many private rooms where I can cover my face, and it is very low price to stay overnight. They acclimate themselves to that environment, also I think they become feeling comfortable.
If I am earning minimum wage, I wish for giving relief from government and society. If the government raises minimum wage only, I think I can’t have a comfortable life. Japanese government carries out policies on social security, but it is not enough. Part of the people who need social security can’t go on social security now. I think Japan has an increase in the gap between rich and poor. I think Japan should impose a tax on luxury items, because the number of people who go on social security is increasing. And we have to improve the working environment from now to the future.
Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.