• Kyodo


The government decided Friday to put Kyushu Railway Co. under full private ownership in fiscal 2016.

The government decided to pursue full privatization because JR Kyushu has achieved good business results in the fields of real estate and hotels, the officials said.

JR Kyushu is one of seven railway operators established after the breakup of Japanese National Railways, or JNR, in April 1987.

It has since invested in several new sources of revenue, including bringing shinkansen services to the island in March 2010. It started operating its luxury Seven Stars in Kyushu service in October 2013.

It will be the first listing of a JR Group member since JR Central went private in 1997.

The government has endorsed a bill revising the 1986 law governing JR companies with the aim of passing it during the current Diet session.

The bill would leave JR Kyushu free to set its business plans, select executives and request long-term loans from financial institutions without having to seek permission from the transport minister.

On April 1, 1987, the deficit-ridden JNR was reformed into six passenger railway operators: the Hokkaido, East Japan, Central Japan, West Japan, Shikoku and Kyushu railway companies, along with Japan Freight Railway Co.

JR East, JR Central and JR West, which operate bullet trains, were privatized. But the state-run Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency held the shares of JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku, Kyushu Railway and JR Freight because their business bases were weak.

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