Japan’s big business lobby has urged the government to allow married couples to have separate surnames, saying current laws that effectively force married women to go by their husbands’ names for some purposes present a business risk.

Keidanren, which is traditionally supportive of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a proposal unveiled Monday that the government should quickly present legislation allowing for surname choice to parliament.

"With women becoming more active and the number of female directors increasing, this name issue is not just a problem for individuals — it’s becoming a business risk,” said Masakazu Tokura, who heads the organization. Debate should begin as soon as possible, he added.