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.
After teasing us with a behind-the-scenes trailer showing Piko Taro with Canadian singer Justin Bieber on the set of their new SoftBank commercial, the telecommunications provider finally made the big reveal last week, by releasing several of the ads on their official YouTube channel. (rocketnews24.com)
Five Japanese companies have teamed up to re-create legendary comic book robot Astro Boy in toy form. The product marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of comic and animation master Osamu Tezuka. (NHK)
The government's Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion newly added 16 faults to a list of major active fault zones in which a magnitude-7 or larger earthquake could occur. (the-japan-news.com)
The tracks of the now-defunct Takachiho Railway in Miyazaki Prefecture - discontinued due to damage caused by Typhoon No. 14 in 2005 - have been revived as a popular tourist attraction that carried 26,000 passengers in fiscal 2015. (the-japan-news.com)
Japan's Foreign Ministry has protested to South Korea over a video clip that calls the body of water between the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" instead of the "Sea of Japan". (NHK)