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A government panel Tuesday approved a plan to use the Internet and other information technologies to double by 2010 the number of people who telecommute from 6 million in 2005, government officials said.

“The government should make positive efforts to increase the number of telecommuters to more than 10 million in three years,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted by the officials as telling a meeting at his IT Strategic Headquarters.

The plan is to develop institutions and IT systems to boost the number of telecommuters. The government defines telecommuters as people who work at home or at offices outside their companies for eight hours or more a week.

The officials said the plan would ease employment insurance standards to cover people who work flexible hours while taking care of children or disabled family members.

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