Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered key government panels to look into easing work-hour regulations under the Labor Standards Law so that some workers could be rewarded on the basis of their performance rather than the hours they spend in the office.

While proponents say such changes would enable workers to flexibly decide their work hours according to their individual circumstances, the proposal needs to be carefully examined so that it is not exploited by businesses to effectively force their employees to work long hours without extra pay.

The Abe administration reportedly believes that the work-hour deregulation would enable people to choose diverse ways of work and galvanize the labor market, and hopes to include the plan in its updated growth strategy for the Japanese economy to be released in June.