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The local governments of Japan’s 13 major cities plan to ask automakers to help shoulder disposal costs for the increasing numbers of vehicles abandoned in streets and ports, Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials said Saturday.

The group wants the central government and the auto industry to extend manufacturers’ responsibility for abandoned cars, a practice that may rise if legislation obliging owners to pay for the disposal of their automobiles goes into effect, the officials said.

The group believes the legislation — currently being studied by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry — may lead dealers or scrap-yard operators, who are asked by owners to sell or dispose of their cars, to increasingly dump cars illegally. Representatives of the 13 governments are expected to approve the proposal, which urges automakers to encourage owners not to desert their vehicles, in a meeting Tuesday.

The officials said the industry should shoulder some 30,000 yen per vehicle in disposal costs. The number of automobiles found abandoned in the 13 cities in fiscal 1998 was 10,179. Osaka topped the list at 2,574.

A spokesman for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association challenged the plan, saying the matter must be carefully studied.

The 12 other cities involved in the proposal are Sapporo, Sendai, Chiba, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka.

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