The difficulty of living in Japan on minimum wage

Anonymous student post

Last year, the UN reported that the minimum wage in Japan is lowest in developed countries. The wage in Japan is 764 yen per hour on average, and the lowest is 664 yen per hour in the areas of Kyusyu in 2013. So now, Japanese government worked out a raise in the minimum wage. This is the one of the measures of poverty in Japan. But, even this measure has doubt that whether it really has good effect for the workers who are working for minimum wage. The following, I will mention that the present state of minimum wage workers and how they live in Japan every day. And what I think the Japanese government should do for them.

Now, 77 percent of workers in Japan are irregular workers, and almost of them fall into the ranks of the working poor (Yuasa 2009). On average, they can earn only minimum wage as 6,000 yen to 8,000 yen for a day. This paycheck is too hard to live on in Japan. Currently Japan has problems with the working poor and net café refugees, whose numbers are rising. Net café refugees are people who temporarily live in internet cafés, karaoke boxes, or comic book cafes. Net café refugees don’t have a residence because almost of them are non-regular employees and temp workers, and they don’t have enough money to pay rent for an apartment. In addition, it is difficult for them to get a regular job, because they don’t have an address. So the intention of the corporations, they don’t want to employees who don’t have address at the point of credibility.

Japanese government is working out a raise in minimum wage as a measure. But the measure focuses on workers under working minimum wage, it mainly part-time workers such as students and housewife. So net café refugees and non-regular workers don’t fit subject in the measure. This measure would become difficult for net café refugees or NEET, because corporations want high quality of employees.

If people become minimum wage employees, they would suffer from various obstacles and problems. At that time, if minimum wage workers have family or people they can rely on, they would be supported by other people around them, but if the workers live alone, they wouldn’t have people who can assist them. Therefore, in that case, the workers can’t get enough money and support to live in Japan. So I think that the increase in the divorce rate and unmarried rate are related to the increasing working poor and some problems such as net café refugees. Japanese government should be prepare measures not only rising in minimum wage, but also supporting systems for them who live alone or don’t have an address.


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

Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center

Taguchi, Norio. (2010) The role and limits of the minimum wage system. Iwate: Iwate University Bulletin.

Yuasa, Makoto (2008) Hanhinkon ”Suberidai shakai” kara no dasshutsu. Tokyo: Iwanami shinsho.

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8 thoughts on “The difficulty of living in Japan on minimum wage

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