Wages continue to fall in Japan

10/15/2012
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Japan’s salaried workers are earning less than before. Japan’s continued lack of growth in the economy means that workers’ pay pockets are slimmer than they have been.

TOKYO (majirox news) — The incomes of Japanese workers have been falling for the last ten years. The Internal Revenue reported the average salary for employees in 2011 had fallen to $51,000, including the 3-month “bonuses” paid twice a year. This represents a 15 percent drop in earning since 1997.

“The strong yen is not helping trade, and imports are cheap, meaning that we have deflation,” Yoichi Kaneko, Senior Director, Research Committee on National Life and Economy, and professor of economics at Aoyama University. The Bank of Japan is not fighting this trend. If the bank changes its policy to reverse this, it will be easier to borrow money, and that will help the economy get moving again.

Almost every industry sector is worse off than it was a decade ago. At home, a sluggish economy, and last year’s earthquake and tsunami have not helped matters, either.

“A weaker yen would push up consumer prices,” Kaneko said. “A one percent rise would be enough to boost wages again.”

Workers in manufacturing and the service industries have been hit the hardest. On average, workers in services, including restaurants, made $29,000 a year. Those in the utilities has the highest average incomes of $92,000 a year.

According to salesman Tatsuo Nose, “We we can’t sell many of our products at my company, so we didn’t expect our salaries to increase.

On the plus side, however, the strong yen and deflationary pressures have brought down the cost of many imported items.

Koji Kawamoto, a businessman in Tokyo, said, “Currently the yen is too high, which is not good for Japan. The financial policy of the government is too slow and too late all the time. I’m very disappointed in them.”

While August’s economy showed a small increase, it was still lower than the previous year. With layoffs and dropping salaries, prices of electricity and gas are set to rise, in part as a result of last year’s disasters.

With the country’s economy stagnant for the apparent future, the once protected workers would appear to becoming an endangered species.

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