KUALA LUMPUR – Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii hyped the country’s Shinkansen bullet train technology for a planned high-speed rail link between Malaysia and Singapore, during his recent visit to Southeast Asia.
Ishii told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Friday that he made the proposal during a series of meetings with Malaysian leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The planned 350-km-long railway is expected to link Malaysia and Singapore in 90 minutes. China and South Korea are also showing interest in the project.
Najib, with whom Ishii met on Thursday, seems to be seriously considering the Shinkansen system, the Japanese minister said. Najib took a ride on a Tohoku Shinkansen train during his visit to Japan in May. The Tohoku Shinkansen Line connects Tokyo and the northern Tohoku region.
Japan recently lost out to China on an Indonesian high-speed train project.
But Ishii stressed that Japan will continue trying to win overseas contracts through the promotion of Shinkansen technology by touting the system’s high level of safety and other advantages, such as Japan’s know-how in developing areas along rail lines.
Ishii held meetings with other Malaysian officials as well, including Liow Tiong Lai, the transport minister.
He also met with Singaporean Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who doubles as coordinating minister for infrastructure, and Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. Khaw and Arkhom are visiting Kuala Lumpur to attend a meeting of transport ministers of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.