As Aug. 15, the 58th anniversary of the end of World War II, approaches, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda is stepping up efforts to sell Japan’s high-tech bullet train system to China.
Fukuda said Wednesday the Chinese people will suffer “a big loss” if their government does not adopt the system because of anti-Japan sentiment over Japan’s past military aggression.
Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Chikage Ogi, who returned to Tokyo on Wednesday from a four-day trip to China, failed to garner a positive response on the railway issue. Japan is competing against Germany and France to win a contract for the 1,300-km line linking Beijing and Shanghai.
Asked whether anti-Japan sentiment may be behind China’s reserved stance, Fukuda said, “If that is a reason for not adopting the convenient and very safe bullet train, it will be a big loss for the Chinese people.”
Such sentiments have been fueled by events like Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Class-A war criminals among the nation’s war dead.
Japan’s state-of-the-art bullet train has had no fatal accidents involving passengers in its 40-year history.
Fukuda will make a three-day trip to Beijing beginning Saturday to attend a reception marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China peace and friendship treaty.
Fukuda said he does not intend to bring up the railway issue during the trip. The visit is nevertheless likely to help improve bilateral ties, he said.
Koizumi reportedly sent a letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, asking China to select Japan’s bullet train system.