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The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry has decided to introduce action plans in nine regions in Japan to boost the use of less-polluting “green” vehicles, ministry officials said Sunday.

The action plans are expected to be compiled by nine regional transport bureaus along with local governments, chambers of commerce and people in the transport industry, the officials said. The ministry will ask for 130 million yen in its budgetary request for fiscal 2002 under the special framework of structural reform, they added.

Under the action plans for environmental measures on local transport, the ministry intends to send officials in charge of vehicles in municipalities or companies information on low-emission vehicles that would be subject to lower taxation or maintenance methods to raise fuel efficiency via an e-mail magazine, with 100,000 subscribers as a target.

The municipalities, local businesspeople and transport industry officials in the action plans are expected to establish a panel promoting the use of low-pollutant vehicles. The ministry aims to increase the use of low-emissions vehicles such as hybrid cars and reduce carbon dioxide, which will help curb global warming, the officials said.

The officials said active participation in environmental problems can improve corporate images, and that the ministry will urge companies and local governments to take part in the projects.

The action plans will also include a “park and ride” project, urging private drivers to park their vehicles at lots designed for such cars in the suburbs and take public transportation when going into the cities, the officials said.

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