Japan eyes 'secure,punctual' trains for the Philippines


On March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan , atleast 38 high-speed rail trains had actually been running at once in the northern part of the country.

In an interview of the Deputy Press Secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that 38 trains came to a halt - safely and nobody was hurt during the phenomenon.

"Tens of thousands of trains are running every year for the last 50 years, and we've had no fatal accidents. Zero. Nobody has died because of our high-speed rail system. It takes a lot of work to do that," Ohtaka said.

"Japan is proudest about the safety and punctuality of its 52-year-old Shinkansen train system, something that Filipino people should have to enjoy it as well," he explained.

Ohtaka described their train system in the context of Japan’s ¥241,991 million* (P110.76 billion or $2.37 billion) loan for the Philippines to build a 38-kilometer railway that is set to connect Tutuban in Manila and Malolos in Bulacan.

The loan for the Manila-Tutuban railway "is among the biggest Japanese yen loans ever."

The Japanese Embassy said this rail way project intends "to strengthen the transportation network and decongest Metro Manila." This is seen "adding to the expansion of Metro Manila's economic sphere and reduction of air pollution."

When asked why this project is essential for Japan, Ohtaka clarified that the Philippines is "a crucial companion" of his nation, "and prosperity in the Philippines is very important.

"We sympathize with the Filipinos, that this is a task that should be done very quickly," he stated.

He then explained that mass of the Philippines' economic activity "is concentrated in the greater Manila area." He said he knows "just how much problems transport could develop" if options do not come in a "timely" way.

Ohtaka, however, is not sure if the Philippines will utilize 100% Japanese modern technology to construct the Malolos-Tutuban train.

" Maybe not 100%, but I think there will certainly be some competition, too, and it will be for the Filipino authorities to choose, so it will be your choice whether you desire Japanese technology or you want something different. You just have to compare," he stated.

This comes as Duterte plans to solve the Philippines' transport troubles, to the factor of seeking emergency powers from Congress.

A month prior to taking office, Duterte said his initial significant job "will be a railway." He likewise stated he was thinking about China's deal to construct a train line from Metro Manila to Clark, Pampanga, in 2 years.

The Philippines is known for its dilapidated and also often delayed trains. In August 2014 alone, an accident involving the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) injured a minimum of 38 passengers and also prompted a government probe.

Unlike Japans' Shinkansen train system that was built in 1964, the Philippines' MRT-3 is just 16 years old.

Source: Rappler

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