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Japan to offer seniors incentives to buy safer cars as crashes surge

Subsidies of up to $900 will be part of economic stimulus package

Seniors aged 75 and up were responsible for nearly 15% of all fatal traffic accidents in Japan last year. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO -- Japan's government is planning new auto subsidies designed to address an increase in accidents involving elderly drivers and give the nation's economy a fillip.

The government intends to offer incentives to car buyers aged 65 and over who purchase "safety support" vehicles with certain features that reduce the risk of crashes. In principle, handouts of 100,000 yen ($920) will be available for new regular vehicles and 70,000 yen for minicars, or "Kei cars," with features like automatic braking systems.

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