Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto asked the presidents of seven JR group firms Wednesday for their understanding over the government’s standpoint on the draft bill that outlines burden-sharing by the seven to cope with the 27.8 trillion yen debt amassed by the former Japanese National Railways.

However, the meeting was unproductive because the presidents reiterated that their firms cannot shoulder the burden, and they asked the prime minister to exempt them from the additional costs.

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