On Friday, Japan’s Transport Minister Yuichiro Hata stated that three new track extensions had been approved for shinkansen, or bullet train, lines. Hata stated that all of the government’s prerequisites had been met, and the three tracks are now scheduled to go into operation by the end of the year 2035. These are the first plans in more than four years to add to Japan’s shinkansen lines, and the project has a total cost of 3.04 trillion yen (approx. $38 billion).
Despite the recent passage of a tax increase into legislature, the transport minister remains confident that the new bullet trains lines will meet public approval. He explained that the shinkansen is not only an iconic symbol for Japan, but it is also important to sustain the economy. Yuichiro Hata told the press that the government would ensure the projects move forward effectively and efficiently when it comes to costs.
These new track extensions will connect Sapporo with Shinhakodate on the northern Hokkaido line; Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture with Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture on the northwestern Hokuriku Line; and Isahaya, Nagasaki Prefecture with the city of Nagasaki on the southern Kyushu Line. In the past is has usually taken around 10 years to complete the construction of one new bullet train line, however the government has a primary goal of reducing the yearly costs, and has worked to cut the time down. The Kyushu line will open by 2022, the Hokuriku line in 2025, and lastly the Hokkaido line in 2035.