Some 760 groups of businesses in different industries receive special heavy-user highway-toll discounts each year worth about 110 billion yen, a member of a panel discussing the privatization of highway-related public entities said Tuesday.
The system was established for small firms in the same business category that have become eligible for the heavy-user discounts by forming unions.
But companies that are not in the same business category gradually began to form unions to take advantage of the discount system, writer and panel member Naoki Inose said.
This is unfair, he claimed, pointing out that while noncorporate users can buy discount expressway tickets, they do not come at such heavily discounted rates.
The 760 groups account for 50 percent of the total 225 billion yen in heavy-user discounts dispensed each year, Inose said. Japan Highway’s total annual revenue is about 1.8 trillion yen.
According to recent media reports, many of these groups collect margins when they get new corporate members to join. Some of these groups also reportedly make donations to politicians.