Ruling bloc finalizes Hokuriku Shinkansen extension route

JIJI

The ruling bloc has officially adopted a plan to extend the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line through the city of Obama in Fukui Prefecture and Kyoto Station in neighboring Kyoto Prefecture.

The decision was made at a Tuesday project-team meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its Komeito ally.

The extended section will link the city of Tsuruga in Fukui and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka Prefecture.

Besides the Obama-Kyoto option, two other candidate routes were considered. One would have connected Tsuruga and Shin-Osaka via Maibara Station in Shiga Prefecture and Kyoto Station, and the other would have linked them by way of Obama, the city of Maizuru in Kyoto and Kyoto Station.

“We decided on the Obama-Kyoto route option … after comprehensively examining factors including the convenience of passengers and the time needed for travel between the Hokuriku region and the Kansai region,” Toshimitsu Motegi, head of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, told reporters after the meeting.

By the end of March 2017, the coalition project team will choose a route between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka stations from two candidates.

In Obama on Tuesday, about 100 people participated in a celebration ceremony at the city government building.

“Obama citizens have waited for the news for some 40 years,” Obama Mayor Koji Matsuzaki said. “I’m really delighted and filled with happiness.”

On the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, the section between Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture and Tsuruga is slated to open in late fiscal 2022.

The section between Kanazawa and Nagano Station in Nagano Prefecture went into service in March 2015.

Fukui and other local communities along the planned extension route are calling for the section to be launched as soon as possible.

Under the current budget framework, construction is expected to start in fiscal 2030 or later, with completion seen in 2046 at the earliest.

“It’s difficult to say when construction will start and when the work will end unless we make progress in talks on how we should secure necessary financial resources,” Motegi said.