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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013

VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Niigata, Nagano: Should Japan make all of its highways free or is the present toll system fair?


By BRYAN BAIER

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Rikiya Sakurai
Student, 20s (Japanese)
If tolls were eliminated, gasoline and car taxes would have to go up to make up the difference. At the moment the economy is bad and not everyone can afford to pay the extra taxes. Once it gets better, though, raising taxes on cars and gasoline to eliminate the freeway tolls would be a good idea.

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Yap Khai Ming
Student, 20s (Malaysian)
Of course it would be good to eliminate the tolls, but how would they pay for the highways? Vehicle inspections (shaken), gasoline and car taxes are already expensive. Another tax to pay for the highway would be a burden, especially considering that most Japanese don't often use the highway.

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Yuka Sato
Student, 20s (Japanese)
It might be nice if the expressway could be paid for by a tax, but as it is with the present system, the roads are well maintained and it is easy to go where you want to go. If the tolls were suddenly eliminated, more people would use the expressway and travel could become difficult.

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Yoichi Shimozono
Owner of Little Alaskan & Small Cabin burger stand, Hakuba, 30s (Japanese)
I think it would be good if the highways were free. It would increase the number of travelers and the prices of goods would come down because the trucking companies wouldn't have the extra cost of the highway tolls.

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Susan
Nokia office worker, China, 40s (British)
Because we've been to other countries with toll roads, we take it as a given that one has to pay a toll for using the expressway. I like actions that take cars off of the road. That said, I would like to know who is getting the money I pay in tolls.

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Yuki Matsuno
Student, 20s (Japanese)
I think it would be good if the highway tolls were reduced but not eliminated. Because not everyone uses the expressways, removing the tolls completely would not be cost-effective, in my opinion.

Bryan Baier conducted interviews in Niigata and Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture.
Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp


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