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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 16 - 22  > Government to spend huge amount of money on roads to shorten travel time by just few minutes
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2008 January 16 - 22 [POLITICS]

Government to spend huge amount of money on roads to shorten travel time by just few minutes

January 21, 2008
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi in a TV debate aired on January 20 strongly called for the cancellation of a government plan to use 59 trillion yen for road construction over the next 10 years.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport drew up this plan last November to use it as a pretext for justifying the maintaining for 10 more years of the higher rate of tax collected for the funding for road construction.

According to this plan, 24 trillion yen (40 percent of the total amount) will be allocated for the purpose of “ensuring Japan’s international competitiveness.” Under this slogan, the plan is pushing the “construction of artery road networks” that includes “improvement in accesses to expressway entrances from hub airports and harbors.”

Pointing out that among 71 hub airports and harbors across the country, there are 22 places where it takes more than 10 minutes to get to the nearest expressway entrance, the plan chose 15 places among them to be provided with “improvement”.

However, using government data, Ichida revealed that at eight places out of 15, it presently takes only 12 to 18 minutes to get to expressway entrances.

“The government argues that the shortening of access time by two minutes from 12 minutes will strengthen Japan’s ‘international competitiveness.’ The ruling bloc justifies the 59-trillion-yen plan based on such an absurd idea and advocates the temporary increase in the tax rate to this end,” said Ichida.

Ichida also pointed out that by eliminating wasteful projects, road improvement can be carried out even if funds earmarked for road construction are turned into general purpose funds.

Government says the following 8 places need access improvement

Harbor, Current access time to expressway
Fushiki-Toyama Port, 13 minutes to Hokuriku Expressway
Himeji Port, 18 minutes to Sanyo Expressway
Mizushima Port, 12 minutes Seto-Chuo Expressway
Iwakuni Port, 14 minutes to Sanyo Expressway
Tokuyama-Kudamatsu Port 14 minutes to Sanyo Expressway
Shimonoseki Port, 12 minutes to Chugoku Expressway
Imabari Port, 14 minutes to Nishi-Seto Expressway
Kochi New Port, 18 minutes to Kochi Expressway
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