The government said Friday that it is considering allowing selected people to work more than 52 hours per week for tests that are part of localization of key industrial materials.
Last year, South Korea cut the maximum weekly working hours to 52 from the previous 68 to help people strike a balance between work and life.
The government said workers in the sectors affected by Japan's export restrictions could be subject to the temporary exception.
Since July 4, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of resist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide, which are essential for the production of semiconductors and flexible displays.
South Korea views the Japanese move as retaliation over last year's South Korean Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Samsung Electronics Co. has begun testing non-Japanese etching gases to see if the alternative materials can meet its technical requirements for the production of semiconductors.
The government also said it is pushing to shorten the period needed for approval of chemical materials essential for development of industrial products. (Yonhap)