POST Online Media Lite Edition


Wages and prices on way up in Japan

Staff Writer |
A serious lack of labor is pushing up wages in various industries in Japan. In turn, consumers are about to begin paying more for goods and services.

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A shortage of long-haul truck drivers has been forcing logistics companies to raise pay.

As a result, it now costs 160,000 yen to 180,000 yen ($1,427 to $1,605) to charter a 10- to 13-ton truck between Tokyo and Fukuoka in southwestern Japan, up 3% to 7% from a year ago.

Driving a truck for hours on end over long distances is not an attractive proposition for most young Japanese.

"To secure drivers, we need to increase charges," said a representative of Fuji Transport, based in Nara Prefecture, western Japan.

According to Recruit Jobs, the average hourly wage for part-time truck drivers was 1,113 yen in February, up 4.7% from three years ago.

Seasonally adjusted data from the labor ministry shows there were 1.43 job offers available for every job seeker in January, the highest rate in about a quarter century.

That's reaching almost all the way back to the heady days of Japan's bubble economy.

Companies are vying for workers across a wide range of industries. Given the sellers' market, employers need to sweeten the pot to fill long-haul truck driver and other undesirable jobs.

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