Salaries of Japanese mayors
Research by Victor Chuah


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Japanese mayors receive
upper management salaries

November 2018: Mayors in Japan are typically among the highest earners in their municipal government with a salary that is comparable to that of upper-middle management in a large firm. The salary amount is collectively decided by the city assembly who also have the power to raise or lower the amount.

Topping the table of highest earning mayors is Fumiko Hayashi of Yokohama City who receives an annual salary of ¥19.2 million, while at the other end of the scale Takashi Kawamura of Nagoya receives just over a quarter of this figure with an annual pay packet of ¥5.3 million. However, it should be noted that Mayor Kawamura voluntarily cut his salary as part of his Genzei Nippon (Tax Cut Japan) movement to reduce salaries of government officials in high positions, thus it should be treated as an anomaly.

There are numerous factors to take into account when gauging whether these salaries should be considered as relatively high or low when comparing with professions that offer similar pay.

Japanese businesses often reward higher salaries and senior positions to employees on the basis of time served at the company. The 38-year-old Toshihito Kumagai of Chiba City, who is the youngest mayor on the list below, should be considered as having a relatively high salary for his age bracket, given that the average age of a manager of a large company to reach the same salary would be 45 to 49 years old.

Japan continues to struggle to improve its gender pay gap situation as it was ranked 111th on World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2016. For the female leaders on our list, Sendai Mayor Emiko Okuyama (65), Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (64) and Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi (70) can be considered as receiving relatively high wages as the average male above the age of 60 earns around double the amount compared to females of the same age bracket.

With the exception of Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama, the salaries of the mayors are rather consistent averaging out at 14 million Yen. Despite this consistency, it only gives a half-painted picture of a mayor’s earnings as retirement allowances can vary greatly (with some mayors receiving retirement packages worth more than their annual salary), however this data can only be accurately collected until after the mayor has actually retired.


Japanese mayors’ annual
salaries after deductions

City
(population)
Mayor
Annual salary in Japan ¥
(in US$)
Chiba
(962,130)
Toshihito Kumagai
12,480,000
(114,475)
Fukuoka
(1,463,826)
Soichiro Takashima
15,600,000
(143,094)
Hamamatsu
(800,912)
Yasutomo Suzuki
15,324,000
(140,563)
Hiroshima
(1,174,209)
Kazumi Matsui
14,934,000
(136,985)
Kawasaki
(1,425,678)
Norihiko Fukuda
15,000,000
(137,591)
Kitakyushu
(977,288)
Kenji Kitahashi
14,760,000
(135,389)
Kobe
(1,544,873)
Kizo Hisamoto
13,536,000
(124,162)
Kumamoto
(731,282)
Kazufumi Onishi
14,232,000
(130,546)
Kyoto
(1,474,473)
Daisaku Kadokawa
13,344,000
(122,401)
Nagoya
(2,263,907)
Takashi Kawamura (3)
5,280,000
(48,432)
Niigata
(812,192)
Yaichi Nakahara
14,004,000
(128,455)
Okayama
(709,622)
Masao Omori
13,920,000
(127,684)
Osaka
(2,666,371)
Hirofumi Yoshimura
12,016,800
(110,227)
Sagamihara
(717,561)
Toshio Kayama
13,704,000
(125,703)
Saitama
(1,222,910)
Hayato Shimizu
14,520,000
(133,188)
Sakai
(842,134)
Osami Takeyama
11,424,000
(104,789)
Sapporo
(1,914,434)
Katsuhiro Akimoto
15,360,000
(140,893)
Sendai
(1,045,903)
Kazuko Kori
14,619,600
(134,101)
Shizuoka
(716,328)
Nobuhiro Tanabe
15,000,000
(137,591)
Tokyo
(12,790,000)
Yuriko Koike
17,472,000
(160,266)
Yokohama
(3,689,603)
Fumiko Hayashi
19,188,000
(176,006)

(1) Japanese fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
(2) 1 US$ = 109.019 JPY (29/1/2018)
(3) Nagoya Mayor Kawamura took a voluntary pay cut
(4) Sources: Municipal websites

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Recommended further reading
Salaries of German mayors
Salaries of British mayors
Japanese mayors