Kyoto's leaders have formally asked the government to consider a new route for the planned Hokuriku Shinkansen Line extension between Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, and Osaka that would see the new line stop in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, and the city of Kyoto.
The request brings the number of candidate routes to five. The bullet train line now terminates in Kanazawa, and will be extended to Tsuruga by 2025. Where to build the new route has become a key economic and political issue for the Kansai region.
With a project team from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expected to select the best candidate routes by May, and local leaders anxious to get a piece of the action, the issue is likely to have an influence on LDP and Komeito candidates in the Upper House election this summer.
Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada and Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa formally notified the ruling parties that Kyoto prefers a route that would take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line from Tsuruga to Maizuru, which is home to a Maritime Self-Defense Force base and, Yamada hopes, a possible future liquefied natural gas project that would turn Maizuru into an important energy hub.
From Maizuru, the train would go to Kyoto Station. But after that, it would bypass JR Osaka Station in northern Osaka and go to the Tennoji area, before terminating at Kansai airport in south Osaka Prefecture.
Other leaders wasted no time in criticizing the plan.
Japanese inflation continued to disappoint in July, according to data released on Friday, with consumer prices dropping for a fifth straight month in the latest blow to Tokyo's faltering war on deflation. (Japan Today)
Japanese actress Atsuko Takahata, 61, held a press conference on Friday morning, making an official apology on behalf of her 22-year-old son Yuta Takahata who was arrested Tuesday for allegedly raping a woman at a hotel in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Its buses and trains arrive on the dot. Its engineers are famously precise. But when it comes to English, Japan is uncharacteristically sloppy. Signs are often misspelled. Taxi drivers point at phrasebooks to communicate with foreigners. Shops that take an English name to be trendy often get it horribly wrong: witness "Poopdick", a second-hand cosmetics outlet. (The Economist)
Electronic cigarettes, which do not require a flame but heat tobacco leaves to create a vapor that is inhaled, are so popular in Japan these days that demand cannot keep up with supply. (the-japan-news.com)