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Radical prefecture restructuring proposed by business group

Date Posted: 2008-11-21

Japanís top business group is calling for dumping the nationís 47 prefectures in favor of creating 10 large geographical entities that could save the country •5.85 trillion each year.

The Japan Business Federation, also known as Nippon Keidanren, says the country would reap gigantic savings by combining administrative costs across national and local governments. Nippon Keidanren officials say greater powers would be assigned the new geographic units, expanding and fine tuning public investments that could save more than •4 trillion.

Reorganizing the prefecture system would streamline labor costs, saving the nation another •1.51 trillion annually. The move would merge some 1,800 municipalities into roughly 1,000, while cutting the number of prefecture assembly members by two-thirds.

Okinawa and Hokkaido are exempt from the reorganization proposal, the Keidanren says, because neither prefecture has a strong financial base to provide support and still maintain services to citizens.

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