Japanese lawmakers to accept 30% pay cut…for six months

2011年03月29日 Saidani

Lawmakers will take a cut of 30% to help with reconstruction costs facing Japan.  Isn’t that great.?

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s ruling party agreed Monday with two major opposition parties on a 30% cut in each parliamentarian’s salary for six months to help generate funds for reconstruction work following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The Democratic Party of Japan struck a deal on the plan with the opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party, during a meeting of their secretaries general, lawmakers said.

If realized, the plan will see around 3 million yen cut from each Diet member’s salary during the period, adding up to a total of 2 billion yen to help finance the reconstruction of northeastern Japan.

Well, this just begs for someone to do the math.  And the cocktail napkins figures shows that these cuts, which amount to roughly the average yearly salary of most Japanese, account for only 15% of their yearly salaries of ~ 20 million yen.

Despite the noble “sacrifice” of these folks, one is left wondering, given the sorry state of the Japanese economy, the diplomatic relations with neighbors, the massive debt, and the malaise engendered among the Japanese youth over their future leading up to the disaster, if the lawmakers are being overpaid to begin with.

One also has to suspect that this gesture is more akin to everyone wearing those silly emergency suits when few, if any, are actually going out in the damaged areas.  But it is often the case with politicians everywhere, notably in Japan, that form is more important to them than function.  To be perceived as useful is more important than actually doing anything useful.

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