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The presidents of seven Japan Railway group companies turned down a Transport Ministry request Tuesday to bear a larger share of the pension costs for former Japanese National Railways employees.

Transport Minister Takao Fujii asked the JR firms for cooperation in bearing additional expenses to help defray the costs of merging the mutual pension fund for JNR employees into the Employees’ Pension Fund. The government is trying to hammer out a scheme to repay the 28 trillion yen in debts left from the JNR breakup.

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