• Kyodo News

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Transport minister Kazuyoshi Kaneko said Friday that an additional 400,000 electronic toll collection devices will be subsidized instead of the 1 million units announced earlier.

The decision came as demand for the device spiked in anticipation of the sharp expressway toll discounts that took effect late last month for vehicles equipped with ETC devices.

The government offered to subsidize up to 1 million of the devices through a foundation for expressway promotion starting March 12 in a bid to increase their use and improve the flow of traffic.

But due to the huge response, ETC device production is struggling to catch up with fast-rising demand. The foundation had paid out subsidies for 840,000 units, including those for motorcycles, as of Friday morning and expects to see cumulative applications exceed 1 million units by the end of the month.

The subsidies amount to ¥5,250 for an ETC priced at around ¥20,000 for a four-wheeled vehicle, and ¥15,750 for devices worth around ¥30,000 for motorcycles.

The foundation plans to subsidize 200,000 additional ETC devices for four-wheeled vehicles, while individual expressway companies will subsidize the other 200,000.

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