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Japan PM Abe scraps key economic policy after dodgy data scandal

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over a key plank of his economic policy Thursday after data he put forward was discovered to be riddled with errors, AFP said. Abe apologized to parliament and accepted there were mistakes in statistics used to support the bill. He had proposed expanding the “discretionary work system,” under which employees receive benefits for a fixed amount of overtime hours, regardless of how much they actually work. This was part of efforts to reduce long working hours, as well as a bid to boost productivity. Abe cited Labor Ministry data showing working hours for those under the discretionary work system could be shorter than for employees with normal work conditions. The opposition spotted dozens of inconsistencies in the data including absurdities like statistics showing overtime of “45 hours per day.”