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LDP seeks 16 trillion yen
In a controversial move, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the government are considering spending 16 trillion yen on highway construction. The LDP and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport hope Japan Highway Public Corporation and other related public corporations will provide donations to this cause. The controversy lies in the recent report by the government advisory panel that calls for restrictions on highway construction by privatized entities; the report calls for the four existing highway corporations to pay back their collective 40 trillion yen debt in full over the next 40 years. Whether the plan will go forward lies in the hands of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and on whether Japan will be able to break out of its seemingly long-standing practice of spending generously on such projects.