The Environment Ministry plans to permanently allow cat cafes to stay open until 10 p.m. from June, extending a temporary measure after finding the later hours make little difference to the animals' stress, ministry officials said Wednesday.

At the same time, the ministry will reinforce measures aimed at ensuring the cats' welfare, limiting their "shifts" to a maximum of 12 hours per day and mandating regular health checks for elderly cats, defined as aged 11 or older.

The changes come amid heightened concern over conditions at cat cafes after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government last week ordered an establishment to close for 30 days due to improper treatment of the animals.