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The governmental Development Bank of Japan said Tuesday it has established an infrastructure investment fund with Australia’s Macquarie Bank that is the first of its kind in Japan.

The joint venture fund, Japan Infrastructure Group, has tapped the Hakone Turnpike toll-road business in Kanagawa Prefecture as its first undertaking with Macquarie Bank’s expertise in managing and improving infrastructure, the DBJ said.

Sources close to the venture said the fund is expected to invest about 20 billion yen in infrastructure projects, including an estimated 1 billion yen in the Hakone Turnpike.

The 15.8-km highway links Odawara and Hakone in the popular resort area and tourist destination southwest of Tokyo.

On Monday, the ownership of the road was transferred to the fund from a corporate group led by railway operator Tokyu Corp. for more than 2 billion yen.

Macquarie Bank is the largest investment bank in Australia and operates infrastructure funds worldwide.

JIG will focus on toll roads and gas-related projects for the time being, the sources said.

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