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Municipalities, universities and businesses have put forward a total of 300 proposals to ease regulations and grant economic privileges to government-designated areas and help recession-hit regional economies, government officials said Saturday.

Some of the proposals call for state insurance coverage to be granted to some types of expensive and advanced medical treatments that are presently exempt from coverage. There are also calls for road regulations to be eased to facilitate the filming of movie car-chase scenes on city streets, they said.

Earlier in August, the government briefed representatives of local governments, municipalities and other interested parties on a plan to give economic privileges to some government-certified districts and municipalities to turn around flagging regional economies.

It aims to pass a bill to designate the special economic zones during an extraordinary Diet session that will convene in the fall.

The government plans to examine the applications with an eye to creating the first municipality or district with such economic privileges next spring, they said.

Many of the 300 proposals call for authorizing close cooperation between businesses and local universities to allow them to jointly set up venture businesses.

The prefectural governments of Kagawa, Shiga and other districts made such proposals, and they are likely to be in competition to obtain government authorization.

The prefectural governments of Hokkaido, Shimane and others submitted a proposal to enable private firms to engage in agricultural operations.

The Kobe Municipal Government sought authorization to apply state insurance coverage for expensive state-of-the-art medical services that are presently not covered by official insurance.

The Kobe government wants to attract hospitals, medical research institutes and pharmaceutical companies to the area under its jurisdiction on the strength of generous insurance coverage.

The Aichi Prefectural Government proposed that the national government allow junior or senior high schools to provide university-level education to students that are talented in mathematics, science and arts.

The Yokohama city government has sought permission to relax the road traffic law to enable movie companies to film car-chase scenes on its streets and attract the film industry to the city.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government proposed that the national government allow South Korean nationals and Hong Kong residents to make sightseeing trips to Okinawa without having to obtain visas.

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