National

Kyoto lobbies to be destination on Hokuriku Shinkansen Line

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Kyoto officials pressed their case this week for routing the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line via Maizuru on the Sea of Japan Coast, a decision that would take the train through Kyoto as well as all Fukui Prefecture towns that host nuclear power plants.

About 200 local officials, including the Kyoto governor, met with Diet members in Tokyo on Wednesday evening to push for approving a final route for the Hokuriku line.

The route is already scheduled to run from Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, to Tsuruga in Fukui, home of the troubled Monju fast-breeder reactor.

From there to the terminus of Osaka, however, the final route has yet to be decided.

Kyoto wants the shinkansen to continue along the Sea of Japan coast in Kyoto Prefecture and pass through Takahama, Oi, and Mihama, where 11 commercial nuclear reactors are located, before stopping at Maizuru, just over the border of Fukui Prefecture. From there, the Hokuriku shinkansen would turn south, heading through the prefecture and stopping in the city of Kyoto.

To bolster their efforts for a Maizuru route, Kyoto has enlisted the aid of Diet members and local politicians whose constituencies are in the neighboring prefectures of Tottori, Shimane and Yamaguchi in the Chugoku region.

Kyoto says a Maizuru route for the Hokuriku line would make it easier to realize a Sanin shinkansen route along the Sea of Japan coast because Maizuru could be its eastern terminus.

“We can build a shinkansen along the Sea of Japan if we make the Maizuru route a reality,” Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada said Wednesday night in Tokyo. A number of officials from towns in Tottori, Shimane, and Yamaguchi prefectures were also in attendance.

Powerful ruling party politicians representing the Chugoku region hope to build a Sanin shinkansen that would pass through Tottori and Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and then terminate at Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Sanin shinkansen supporters include former regional revitalization minister Shigeru Ishiba and Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Masahiko Komura, both of whom represent Tottori Prefecture.

Hiroyuki Hosoda, chairman of the LDP’s General Council, represents Shimane and also supports the project.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who represents Yamaguchi Prefecture, is also listed as a member of the Diet group pushing for a Sanin shinkansen.

Three possible Hokuriku Shinkansen Line routes are being seriously considered, including one that would bypass northern Kyoto Prefecture and go through Shiga Prefecture.

Amid political pressure from local politicians competing to win the route that benefits their constituents, a final decision by the Diet is not likely until next year.

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