Despite staunch opposition from some party members, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday cleared a controversial draft bill to dispose of 27.8 trillion yen in debt left by the former Japanese National Railways.

The draft includes a plan to force seven JR group firms to bear 360 billion yen of the debt; the money would partially cover pension costs for former JNR employees. The JR carriers, however, are firmly opposed to the additional financial burden.

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