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The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) urged the government Thursday to revise its budget for fiscal 2011 to secure funds for rebuilding the disaster-stricken Tohoku region.

The revision would include the termination of a plan to introduce toll-free expressways, according to its special committee on quake disaster reconstruction.

Further shortfalls in reconstruction costs should be covered by the issuance of extraordinary national bonds and a temporary increase in income and corporate taxes, the Keidanren panel said.

It also proposed setting up a reconstruction agency and taking preventive measures against the spread of groundless and harmful rumors that certain agricultural and industrial products are contaminated by radiation.

As ways to address an anticipated power shortage this summer in the Kanto region, Keidanren voiced the need to promote resumption of suspended power plants and introduce new power generating facilities.

In addition, the top business lobby said it will compile steps in April for voluntary energy saving, as it wants to avoid mandatory restrictions on energy use imposed by the government or massive blackouts, as they would have a huge impact on economic activities.

The envisioned measures include dispersing operating days and hours at factories and temporarily shifting production to western Japan as well as utilizing in-house power generation facilities to reduce energy consumption.

Nippon Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura told the first meeting of the panel, “Japan has overcome difficulties such as opening up the nation in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and postwar reconstruction. Once again, people will have to unite to overcome” the latest crisis.

The move came after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry called on industry groups in their respective jurisdictions to voluntarily map out and implement energy-saving measures.

The government is considering limiting use of power by large-lot energy users.

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