The government plans to ease passport regulations that allow married women to have both their maiden name and legal family name included on their passports starting as early as fiscal 2019 — a move intended to promote more female participation in the workforce.

The rationale is that this could reduce confusion and hassle on overseas business trips for women who continue to use their maiden names in the workplace even after they legally adopt their husbands' names.

A panel headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expects to announce the plan as early as next week as part of the government's female empowerment guidelines for the current fiscal year, ending March 2018.