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Subsidies kicked in Thursday for motorists who buy the electronic toll collection system device.

The subsidies of ¥5,250 for a four-wheeled car and ¥15,750 for a motorcycle are in line with the substantial discounts planned for expressway tolls across most of the country for ETC-equipped vehicles from later this month.

To receive the subsidies, motorists must buy the ETC device before March 31 at about 10,000 designated car goods shops across the nation.

The maximum toll for cars on the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Expressway and the Tokyo Bay Aqualine Bridge-Tunnel will be reduced to ¥1,000 on weekends and national holidays from March 20.

The maximum toll on regional expressways will be cut to ¥1,000 for an unlimited distance on weekends and national holidays from March 28.

These discounts, effective for two years as part of economic stimulus steps, will apply to drivers whose vehicles are equipped with the ETC device, which acts like a transponder.

The ETC system is aimed at helping to ease traffic jams and cutting back on the number of personnel who collect tolls.

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