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The House of Representatives passed bills Tuesday to turn 49 special-purpose public corporations into independent or privatized entities.

The set of 46 bills was approved by a plenary session of the Lower House in a majority vote by the ruling coalition — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

In the opposition camp, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party supported some of the bills, but the Liberal Party and Japanese Communist Party opposed all of them.

The proposed legislation is one of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s reform initiatives. It will next be submitted to the House of Councilors, which will begin deliberations Wednesday with enactment likely by the end of the current Diet session on Dec. 13.

If enacted, the bills would convert 38 of the 42 public corporations into independent administrative bodies and the remaining seven into privatized entities.

The new entities would be required to adopt business accounting principles and submit to auditing by third parties.

The issue of privatizing four road-related public corporations is not included in the bills, because it is being deliberated by a government advisory panel that will compile proposals in early December.

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