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Lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party criticized Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other LDP executives Tuesday for creating a new panel to study the privatization of four road-related public corporations.

One of the lawmakers, Mitsuhiro Uesugi, denounced a request Koizumi made of the panel at its first meeting Monday to consider the best way to list the stocks of the four entities after they are privatized. Uesugi said Koizumi should clarify why he is making the request, particularly since 2,000 km of the highway projects are incomplete.

The seven members of the panel, which Koizumi announced Friday, include reform-minded journalist Naoki Inose, whose selection has irritated many in the LDP.

Many LDP lawmakers with vested interests in road construction are upset that Inose was included because he is viewed as a proponent of fully privatizing the debt-ridden public entities and of listing their stock on the open market.

The entities to be examined by the panel are: Japan Highway Public Corp., Metropolitan Expressway Public Corp., Hanshin Expressway Public Corp., and the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority.

Hiromu Nonaka, a former LDP secretary general, and other lawmakers voiced their opposition to the journalist’s inclusion at the party’s Executive Council on Tuesday.

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