The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a bill Friday that will make Japan's health insurance program for employees applicable only to workers and their dependents residing in the country, to prevent abuse by people from overseas.

Japan is seeking to revise the system as it prepares to open up and accept more foreign workers from April. The planned revision is aimed at blocking the use of the national health insurance by foreign nationals who have never lived in Japan, including relatives of incoming laborers. The new insurance system is expected to take effect in April 2020, a year after Japan starts accepting more blue-collar workers under a new visa program aimed at tackling labor shortages caused by the rapidly graying population.

The employee health insurance system covers workers' dependents living abroad, but authorities have faced difficulty when checking whether the dependents are actually kin or just people who are financially dependent on the workers.