Transport Minister Jiro Kawasaki said Friday he intends to meet with the presidents of the seven Japan Railway group companies to seek their “understanding” on the just-enacted laws requiring them to shoulder part of the burden for repaying the 27.8 trillion yen in debts left behind by the now-defunct Japanese National Railways.The laws, which cleared the Diet earlier this week, are expected to go into force next Thursday. Much of the debts will be transferred to the government’s general account and disposed of over 60 years. “I will be able to have an opportunity to talk with the presidents of these carriers when I take business trips to such regions as Hokkaido and Shikoku,” said Kawasaki, who plans to go to Hokkaido in early November.Among the JR group companies that firmly oppose the burden-sharing, Masatake Matsuda, president of East Japan Railway Co., is the staunchest opponent to the laws. He reiterated after the laws’ enactment Thursday that his firm may bring the case to court.It remains unclear whether the rest of the carriers will join him in the possible legal action.
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