At Saturday's ceremony to mark the start of construction on a 21-kilometer section of the Kyushu Shinkansen network, Nagasaki Gov. Hodo Nakamura found plenty of positives to talk about.
"It'll encourage more people to visit each other," he said. "We'd like to make our communities more attractive in time for [the Nagasaki route's] inauguration."
Despite the smiles at the ceremony held near JR Nagasaki Station, however, several concerns remain over the latest phase of the government's extension of the nation's bullet train network. Questions over funding, whether three new stretches will be profitable, and what the new routes will mean for nearby local lines remain unanswered.
The celebrations for the start of construction of a section between Isahaya, Nagasaki Prefecture, and Nagasaki on the Kyushu Shinkansen network's Nagasaki route was followed by a construction kickoff ceremony Sunday for a 113-kilometer section between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line.
In addition, a ceremony to mark the start of work on a 211-kilometer section between Shin-Hakodate and Sapporo on the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line will take place next Saturday.
Constructing the three new sections will cost 3.4 trillion yen in total.
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
The Japanese word "choju," meaning longevity, implies, with its kanji, joyous celebration of long life. Intrinsically, it is a joyful thing for people to live long. But if a society has many people who age in solitude, isolated from their families and local communities, it cannot be called choju. It should rather be called "roka shakai," or a society that weakens as it ages. (Yomiuri )