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A group of nine Japanese companies and two Taiwanese firms said Thursday it has landed an order from Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. to lay the northern 150-km section of a bullet train line in Taiwan, in addition to the order it landed for the southern 180-km section.

The value of the new order amounts to 100 billion yen, bringing the tally of orders related to the bullet train system obtained by Japanese companies so far to 537 billion yen, it said.

The Taiwan project signifies the first time Japan to export its shinkansen system.

The Taiwan allies in the group are Evergreen Development Corp. and another construction firm, it said.

The Japanese members are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsui & Co., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp., Sumitomo Corp., Obayashi Corp. and Shimizu Corp.

In winning the 100 billion yen order, the group outbid European and Australian rivals in an international tender.

Taiwan is planning a high-speed train system to run for 345 km from Taipei to Kaohsiung in about 90 minutes at speeds of up to 300 kph.

The project is estimated to cost a staggering 1.6 trillion yen without the cost of land purchases taken into account.

Taiwan High Speed Rail expects to start operating bullet trains in October 2005.

As a result of the fresh order for the northern tracks, the group will build a combined 330 km of the 345-km line, which covers four of five segments of the tracks running north to south on the island.

In 2000, seven Japanese companies had obtained an order to build cars and related electronic systems for the high-speed train system for more than 330 billion yen.

Japanese firms have so far lagged behind their French peers in terms of landing orders for bullet train systems.

The group hopes to export the bullet train system further and is currently lobbying China.

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