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An opposition party’s counterproposal to the government’s plan to settle debts left behind by the defunct Japanese National Railways would garner funds through steps such as administrative streamlining, it was learned Tuesday.

The government has submitted a bill to the Diet that would dispose of the 27.8 trillion yen in debts through the creation of a special tobacco tax as well as have the seven JR group companies shoulder pension-related expenses.

The draft counterproposal was drawn up by the largest opposition group, the Democratic Party of Japan, and says the government’s proposal would cause government losses of some 32 billion yen to 44 billion yen in corporate tax revenue as well as a decline in the value of JR stock held by the government.

The DPJ also stressed that the pension burden problem was solved in 1996 and that there are no legal grounds for the government to force the JR companies to shoulder more debts.

Instead of employing the government’s proposals to secure funds for debt repayment, money should be raised by reviewing the general account budget and reducing excess government spending, the DPJ said.

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