October 9, 2008

Japan Gives Up on Plan to Restrict Foreign Investment in Airports

Tokyo, Oct. 9 (Jiji Press)--The government will give up on its plan to restrict foreign ownership of Japanese airport operators after a study panel discussing equity regulations for airport firms agreed Thursday that it will base its debate on nondiscriminatory rules.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry intends to accept the panel's conclusion and submit a bill for regulations that will center on curbing large-stake ownership to an ordinary parliamentary session next year, informed sources said.

For national security reasons, the ministry has eyed legal revisions that would ban foreign investors from owning one-third or more of companies such as Narita International Airport Corp., which plans to list its shares, and Japan Airport Terminal Co. , which manages facilities at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Because of strong opposition from ruling party lawmakers, who maintained that the restrictions would run counter to the government's policy of promoting foreign investment in Japan, the ministry presented the Diet with revisions to the airport law earlier this year that have no provision for foreign ownership control.END

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