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Transport Minister Takao Fujii expressed strong regret Tuesday over the decision by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission to collect fees from three Japanese shipping lines in retaliation for inefficient and costly harbor practices in Japan.

At the same time, Fujii said he “understands” the decision by the three firms to pay the fines. “It is extremely regrettable that despite our demand to withdraw the sanctions, the FMC decided to collect the money,” Fujii told a regular press conference. “The decision violates the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, and is unfair.”

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