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The chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) said Monday that the private sector should cooperate with the government in the event that Japan shoulders part of the cost of the Iraq war and subsequent reconstruction efforts.

“My personal opinion is that individual companies should bear a proper burden,” said Hiroshi Okuda, who also serves as chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.

He was responding to a question on the possibility of temporarily raising the corporate tax to cover war costs.

Okuda said that, although Japan should shoulder part of the war costs, its contribution should not be big enough to trigger a further deterioration in the nation’s already sluggish economy.

“Japan paid about 1.9 trillion yen (for the 1991 Gulf War),” he said. “Judging from the current economic situation, I think it’s a bit difficult to pay that much.”

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