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Heated debates over Abe`s plan to eliminate overtime pay
MAY 30, 2014 01:52  
Japan is seeking to introduce a new wage system in which workers would be paid in accordance with their performances regardless of their work hours. The new labor system would allow companies to force employees to work overtime for free. The Japanese government has proposed the new system as part of its economic growth strategy, while the labor community is protesting.

During an industrial competitiveness meeting at his official residence in Tokyo on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed his Cabinet to study a new wage system, saying that it is necessary to adopt a new labor system that evaluates workers by their performances.

Japan`s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare proposed to limit the new system to "world-class highly specialized professionals" such as foreign exchange dealers and fund managers who receive millions of dollars` worth of money in annual salaries.

However, private-sector members of the meeting opposed the proposal, claiming that the scope would be "too limited to be effective." Last month, they proposed to subject to the new system people receiving annual incomes of 10 million yen or more and ordinary employees agreed by labor and management.

During the Wednesday meeting, the private-sector members proposed to drastically widen the scope to leaders with a certain level of responsibility regardless of their annual salaries. Japanese labor ministry plans to set up a committee of representatives of the labor and employers to hold further discussions, before introducing a revision proposal for the labor law to next year`s regular parliamentary session.

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