A panel of representatives from the government and the three ruling parties gave priority Wednesday to two projects for expanding the nation’s bullet train network, Transport Minister Takao Fujii said.Priority was given to two sections of bullet train line: One between Hachinohe and Shin Aomori on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and another between Funakoya and Shin Yatsushiro on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line. The two projects will receive more consideration during future budget allocations than the remaining section, which lies between Nagano and Joetsu on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line.An earlier estimate said that operating bullet trains on the segment proposed for the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line would improve the annual balance of earnings and expenses by up to 100 million yen a decade after the service is started.In contrast, the economic effect from building the proposed extension to the Tohoku line is put at between 6 billion yen and 7.5 billion yen, while the Kyushu Shinkansen section is likely to earn some 4 billion yen to 5 billion yen.The committee had earlier decided to begin construction of all three lines with the 3 billion yen budgeted for fiscal 1997. The funds were to be equally split among the three projects, but no work on any of them has taken place during the fiscal year.Each of the proposed public works projects has been examined by the committee, which took into account such factors as the balance of earnings and expenses on the sections, as well as the economic impact they would have on communities situated along the railroad network.Bullet train construction projects attract public attention and are politicized because they revitalize local economies. Although the cost of constructing the three sections is estimated at roughly 1.2 trillion yen, their completion times have not been specified.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.