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LEAD: Resona demands commission payment from soccer lottery operator+
[April 19, 2006]

LEAD: Resona demands commission payment from soccer lottery operator+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, April 19_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO IN LAST 2 GRAFS)

Resona Bank has sent a final demand letter to the government-backed operator of the "toto" soccer lottery seeking payment of 14.4 billion yen in commission owed to the bank, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

In the letter, the bank threatened to bring the case to court if the National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health fails to come up with a plan for payment by mid-May, the sources said.

The agency contracted out the handling of sales and prize payments for the lottery to Daiwa Bank, one of Resona's predecessor banks, in April 2001. The contract expired last month.

Affected by a slump in lottery sales, the agency failed to make payments of 22.4 billion yen in commissions between April 2002 and March 2005. Resona has waived a large part of the sum.

The lottery operator has been restructuring its operations after sales fell to a record low of 14.9 billion yen in fiscal 2005 through this March, adding 7 billion yen in new debt to Resona Bank, which is not included in the demand.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which controls the agency, said it has no plan to use public funds to make the commission payments. "Lottery costs should be covered with lottery sales," a ministry official said.

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