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Japanese government promises expressways will be free by the year 2115

71 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan may be one of the world’s largest automobile producers, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get around the country by car. There’s a huge hurdle to hopping into your car and getting out on the highway for a weekend drive or family trip, which is that Japan’s expressways are extremely expensive. Want to take the expressway from Tokyo to Osaka? That’ll be about 12,000 yen in tolls, and, unless you’re planning on abandoning your car in Osaka, another 12,000 yen when you drive back to Tokyo.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. In 2005, Japan’s expressways were quasi-privatized, becoming managed by stock companies with the Japanese government holding a controlling number of shares. As part of this restructuring, the government promised that, by the designated year, it would do away with expressway tolls, making them free to use.

Unfortunately, the government is now backtracking on that pledge. At a session of the House of Councilors on May 31, the attending members enacted the Revised Act on Special Measures for Road Development, which legally allows them to continue collecting tolls past when they’d said they’d be ended. The good news is that they’ve given the public plenty of advance warning about the extension. The bad news? The new deadline to end toll collection is the year 2115.

Yep, 2115. When the toll moratorium was first announced, expressways were supposed to become free to use by no later than 2055. In 2014, though, this was revised to 2065, and in the latest walk-back, the government decided to tack on another 50 years of toll-collecting privileges.

Even with a 42-year heads-up, an extra half-century of paying tolls is an idea that’s got the general public upset, as Twitter reactions in Japan are showing. Some people are able to calm themselves with the dry, grim realization that the government’s decision likely closes the door on them ever being able to drive on the expressway for free in their lifetime, so there’s not much point in worrying about it anymore, but others are still shocked to see the futuristic year 2115 show up in official legislation, and are saddened that they’ll still be paying to use the expressway when we were supposed to have much cooler things going on by then.

“I’m dead.”

“Free expressways in 2115? Yeah, I’m not gonna be in this world anymore by then.”

“If a kid is born today, he’ll be 92 years old when the expressways finally become free.”

“How come they’re still going to be charging expressway tolls then? Aren’t we supposed to have our flying cars by then?”

“2015? Are they serious? Geez, that’s even after Doraemon is supposed to be born.”

“Cyberpunk 2077. Free expressways 2115.”

As for why the government is extending the toll-abolishment deadline, according to recent reviews of expressway conditions, including its tunnels and bridges, and projects to widen certain sections from two lanes to four, are going to cost 1.5 trillion yen more than previously expected. That brings the total estimate for all projected maintenance and development work for the expressway network (including areas that are in good condition now but will need work done in the future) by 2115 up to 8.3 trillion yen, with the apparent prediction that not enough of that will be paid for by 2065 to stop collecting tolls.

There is a sliver of silver lining to the situation, in that the deadline extension is not yet a firm decision to continue collecting tolls all the way up to 2115. In technical terms, it only grants the government the power to extend the deadline past 2065, in increments, all the way up to 2115. That said, if the financials of going toll-free are already looking dicey 40-plus years ahead of time, it seems unlikely that the government is going to find a feasible way to end expressway tolls with just a few extra years past 2065.

Sources: NHK News WebKyodoTwitter

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

71 Comments
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Almost spit my coffee on that one, keep it real LDP

4 ( +23 / -19 )

Well, that’s great news to know and look forward to, finally! I can’t wait about time!

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Yep, 2115. When the toll moratorium was first announced, expressways were supposed to become free to use by no later than 2055. In 2014, though, this was revised to 2065, and in the latest walk-back, the government decided to tack on another 50 years of toll-collecting privileges.

The LDP gerontocracy, with more unearned wealth and privilege than they know what to do with, thinks all that talk of a coming AI Singularity will give them access to that radical life-extension tech and they or their scions will be around to enjoy all those tolls and rents.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Who cares I don’t think majority of us will witness that day

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I told my great, great grandson the wonderful news but he wasn't too impressed. Apparently expressways have been obsolete for several decades since the introduction of autonomous, AI controlled, personal transport drones (PTDs for short). Expressways have long since been re-purposed as solar farms and bowling alleys.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is why bullet trains work in Japan. The strategy is to unfairly punish the competition. This is why high speed rail isn't a good idea in most other developed countries.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Is unbelievable expensive to actually manage roads and maintain it in good conditions. There was no way it would have ever become free anyway. Is just not feasible. Not unless the people in charge of it want to go into huge debt.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I don't have a problem paying a toll to use the road, it is the high price. I loved it when the old DPJ were in power and they cut the price to all you could drive for either Y1000, or Y2000. It was fantastic, the roads were busy, they rest areas were booming, and I think a lot of people were getting out and discovering new places. Alas, these LDP cronies only see yen signs and want to soak the people for all they can get.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Like I have said repeatedly here. Once the government gets a hold of money from the tax paying public, they wont give it back, and will find what ever excuse necessary to keep it.

This is meaningless to people today, including the one's who are making this "promise", as none will be alive to see it happen, which is exactly what they are hoping for, no one remembering it, and in fact prices rising instead!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Japanese government promises expressways will be free by the year 2115

Of course they will. The nation will be extinct by then. DUH!

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

Oh good, I can't wait

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hahaha!! I'm gonna use this if my boss ever asks me if I'm free for Saturday work!

'Sure, I think I'm free in 2115!'

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Any government promising anything in 90 years time deserves ridicule.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Originally, the expressway tolls were supposed to be removed once the expressways had paid for themselves. But a whole bureaucracy/quango had been created around them (probably full of amakudari chairs) and so they just went on collecting the money. And this, folks, is how things work. The LDP are in part dumb puppets that do the bidding of the bureaucrats. That's where you should mostly look.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

LOL I'll be dead by then!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ridiculous!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Couldn't make this up !!! The LDP is just having a laugh at us !

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Thank you for the joke, bwahahahaha!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The LDP have just given me another incentive to live longer, but seriously, will 2115 just be pie-in-the-sky or the end of capitalism and the starting date of socialism in Japan?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

2115, is that some sort of joke? Expressways won't be needed by then.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This has to be a joke!

Because of business I have to go to Osaka from Tokyo a few times a year occasionally I have no choice but to use the car to transport large antique items and several smaller to be restored.

But most cases it would simpler and a lot less tiring to take the train.

But I don't and here is why.

Cost! We go 2 people.

Car: tolls ¥12,000 going ¥12,000 return about ¥10,000 fuel total in travel ¥34,000

Shinkansen" ¥14,700 one way each 4 X ¥14,700=¥58,800

Instead of reducing or removing tolls in an insanely long time table, why not reduce the Shinkansen price now, reduce traffic, reduce the wear and tear on the roads saving maintenance cost, reduce emissions, etc...

I would rather take the train and avoid the 5 hour drive but that would considerably increase my cost which I have to pass on to my clients.

And before someone ask why the items cannot just be shipped, simple explanation of the type, time nature of the restoration, the fragility of many items would be far too risky to send by courier, most being irreplaceable.

Now for the icing on the cake, a round trip ticket on a discount airline Tokyo- Osaka is as low as ¥9,900 on Expedia but in reality ¥15,000 at pretty much anytime so why is the Shinkansen so expensive?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wow! Just in time!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

When you see them painting around the toll booths, you know the toll is about to go up. It’s so laughably consistent.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

“Roads ?; Where we’re going, we don’t NEED Roads”

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan is a meme.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

When the toll moratorium was first announced, expressways were supposed to become free to use by no later than 2055. In 2014, though, this was revised to 2065

WELL DONE, ABE.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I wonder, what is the annual cost of maintaining the expressway network and who would pay for it if there are no tolls being charged?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I will be 149 years old by then.

Probably still allowed to drive in Japan, though, because I will be so venerable, you see.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Wow, I will not get to see it., And neither I think the World system will still be in place. A new World system will most likely be in place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have some oil for sale which will increase your life span to 2115 and I guarantee it with a money-back offer if it fails. Any takers?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

1st laugh if my day today!!!!!

joke of the century

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Well sure. Flying cars don't need expressways.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Promises made, promises kept...Bravo!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sounds about right given the shrinking and aging population. By 2115 most of Japan will be abandoned land, so no need for roads or highways.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

haha this is amazing.....my great great grandchildren will be thrilled

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No mention that the highway infrastructure is older than 40 years (like NPPs), which means in the next 5-10 years it all needs to replaced. So 2135 is more realistic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why don't they just say it will never be free.

At least that would be the truth.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

By 2115 I probably won't be here, and civilization will most likely have come to an end. A no win situation.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is why bullet trains work in Japan. The strategy is to unfairly punish the competition. This is why high speed rail isn't a good idea in most other developed countries.

Not sure I follow, people have to pay to use the shinkansen just like they have to pay to use the freeway, so how is one being unfairly punished at the expense of the other?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great! No one alive today will be around to see J-gov renege on that promise come 2115.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The government should be encouraged to apply such forward-thinking and advanced planning to other parts of the economy. It is always good to give people time to adapt before a policy change is implemented.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japanese government promises expressways will be free by the year 2115

idiots.

While they’re at it, why not charge the public tolls on using the sidewalks until the year 2269?

why not charge people for breathing in oxygen until the year 3987?

how about making people pay to think? But make sure they collect such tolls until the year 8743!

who’s coming up with this crap?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'll add a clause in my will to have someone drive my remains along an expressway on the day they become free.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have just added this date to my diary. Any news yet on who we need to complain too is it does not happen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

2115 by then we are all be gone, hopefully resting in Peace LOL, and no one will remember or hold the government accountable.

If the government is serious about it they should start now by making sections that has already been paid for and long over due FREEEEEE.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This must be the worst JOKE of the year.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'll be 140-something years old.

Wonder if I'll still have a driver's license.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The expressways are just insanely expensive, so we end up with a ridiculous situation whereby they hardly get used and then next to it you have an overcrowded kokudou. Make them cheaper and more will use them, freeing up the kokudou for local traffic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

this is the funniest news,, i have ever read that is not intended to be comedy. But it’s hilarious.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese government promises expressways will be free by the year 2115

Yeah, and who will hold them to account?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every 10 years the date is pushed back. First by 10 years, now by 50 years. So in 2033 it will be pushed back to 2365 and in 2043 to...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Quite sure a govt today cannot constrain a govt of tomorrow (though likely the LDP may still be in charge, so...). Perhaps a referendum?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mark

June 3 08:08 pm JST

This must be the worst JOKE of the year.

It does seem to come from the Onion News.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

shogun36

June 3 05:40 pm JST

While they’re at it, why not charge the public tolls on using the sidewalks until the year 2269?

why not charge people for breathing in oxygen until the year 3987?

Shhh! Stop giving them ideas

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

STOP using the Expressways and give the government the excuse to extend it to 2215.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

桜川雪

Today 12:55 am JST

shogun36

> June 3 05:40 pm JST

> While they’re at it, why not charge the public tolls on using the sidewalks until the year 2269?

> why not charge people for breathing in oxygen until the year 3987?

> Shhh! Stop giving them ideas

> -2( +0 / -2 )

2 people are in favour of govt overreach

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I saw this on Twitter and assumed whoever posting it was the Japan version of "The Onion".

The expressways are basically a con. Their charter said they would be free once the toll revenue matched the construction cost, but Tanaka Kakuei took the tolls from the Tomei etc. and used them to pay for inaka expressways. This arrangement is called "pool-sei" in Japanese. The inaka expressways will never break even.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This must be the worst JOKE of the year.

The J-politicians are the funniest comedians on the planet. The only problem is... they are serious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, of course, it’s free in 2115. But no one of us will use it then, as we all are already in paradise among streams of milk and honey, if the other promise also comes true. lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The public have paid for it and continue to pay for it.

It won’t stop being a money grab

However, I love being able to drive along fairly traffic free roads outside of GW and Obon

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By 2115 there will be no need for expressways. Personal drones and aircraft is the way its heading.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s the typical bait-and-switch plan used by governments forever. A number of highways in America were built, and they were to collect tolls for a number of years until their construction costs were recouped. But in no case I know of has this actually happened. Instead of abolishing tolls and maintaining highways from fuel tax and vehicle registration fees, the highways not only continue to collect tolls, but raise the toll prices. The fundamental issue is corruption, and with so much infrastructure spending absorbed in graft and red tape, it’s impossible to pay for its upkeep without tolls. Adjusted for inflation, many roads today cost much more to maintain than they did to build.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can hardly wait for that time to come!

But then again - 2115 that's another roughly 90 years!

Well, maybe I should get my body frozen or mummified to experience this great achievement

(those free highways, of course)! In the meantime I consider it a "Highway to Heaven".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does anyone remember when Abe made this one of his campaign promises? It lasted for about 2 weeks and then the fee came back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Free? 2115?

That's a looooooooooooooooooog time away!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Welp......(sigh).....time to get back in the cryo chamber! 2115 you say? Ok! See you then!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its because Japanese people would have solved population decline and have achieved immortality by then from eating rice on miso soup for breakfast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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