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Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

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  • Fun Facts #13: National minimum wage map

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 11th, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
    Hi Blog.  Have you ever wondered what the minimum wage is in Japan?  Well, guess what, it depends.  On the prefecture.  On the industry.  On the industry within the prefecture too.

    Now, before you throw up your arms in anguish and wonder how we’ll ever get an accurate measure, along comes the GOJ with a clickable minimum wage map by prefecture and industry.  You can have a look and see where people on the bottom rung of the ladder are earning the least and most.  Found this while researching the PhD.  To quote Spock, “Fascinating.”

    MHLW sponsored minimum wage prefectural map at

    Here’s a partial screen capture of it.  It’s very well organized.  They’ve made it real easy even in terms of language.  See, when the GOJ really wants you to have the information, they do a pretty good job of it.


    If you want to see more about their definitions and science, click here:

    Of course, when I say “on the bottom rung of the ladder”, I mean citizens.  There are however, tens of thousands of people (i.e. NJ “Trainees”) who don’t qualify for the labor-law protections of a minimum wage.  They get saddled with debts and some make around 300 yen an hour, less than half the minimum minimum wage for Japanese.  See more here, here, and here.

    FYI.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    2 Responses to “Fun Facts #13: National minimum wage map”

    1. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      I was on the lookout for the police advertisements on the Yamanote line yesterday — they have indeed covered the outsides of the train cars with giant smiling police officer photos — and spotted a big “766 yen” sign in Suidobashi station in Tokyo. Then there was another one inside Ichigaya station. Looks like the government really does want people to know this stuff.

    2. Dawn Says:

      Same thing in the states. You can get away with paying less than the minimum if your business falls under certain guidelines. This is a global problem.

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