Can We Survive If We Just Earn Minimum Wage?

Anonymous student post

Each of the prefectures in Japan has a regulation about the minimum wage. Actually, it greatly differs between rural areas and big cities. For example, the highest minimum wage is 869 yen an hour in Tokyo. On the other hand, the lowest of it is 664 yen an hour in 9 prefectures. With the information, we can understand that there is big distinction of 200 yen. This seems to be great difference. Well, how are actual lives when it comes to workers in such a situation? Are there real differences? And how do they live every day?

In my opinion, there might not have a big difference by minimum wage in real lives. I’ll list 2 points. First, commodity prices are different in each place. As it is, rural areas’ prices are lower than big cities’. In other words, it can be said that minimum wage is fitted by commodity prices. Secondary, the lives of workers who earn minimum wage is surely severe however minimum wage is. The difference by minimum wage is almost nothing, but living with it is very hard.

In class, we have already discussed the monthly expenses and income of an imaginary person who works for minimum wage. He is a student and needs money for foods, lighting and heating, clothes, mobile phone and Internet. It looks difficult to make it by himself, and he can’t live without a remittance from his family. But to earn minimum wage does not make it hard to live. Depending on only a part time job really makes the lives precarious. Imagine that, can you say that your life in working is not precarious anymore if you get a job which you can earn 1200 yen? Maybe you can not say yes. Many part time jobs do not have enough welfare system. It is difficult for them to take care of workers. A part time job itself makes precarious.

For developing the current situation, government must make more rule for people who have part time jobs. As for us, we must care about not only minimum wage but treatment when we look for part time jobs. The most important factor is not money but one’s situation. Finally, minimum wage never makes workers precarious. (Of course, students should care about that)


Anne Allison. (2013). Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. (n.d.). retrieved May 20, 2014, from 

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2 thoughts on “Can We Survive If We Just Earn Minimum Wage?

  1. Pingback: Minimum wage as a student | JAPANsociology

  2. Pingback: The struggle of living in Japan if you are earning minimum wage | JAPANsociology

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