JAPAN made a pitch on Friday to Singaporean authorities to help develop the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR), promising that commercial operations can start in seven years when Japanese companies win the project.
This comes hot on the heels of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Singapore and Malaysia on Tuesday. Both countries are looking to have the HSR up and running by 2026 - 10 years from now. Engineering studies for the Singapore side of the HSR may take up to 24 months, and construction may start in 2018.
In addressing a packed auditorium at the Second High Speed Rail Symposium in Singapore on Friday, Yuji Fukasawa, executive vice-president of East Japan Railway Company (JR East), said: "We are confident of contributing our experience and technology to the Singapore-Malaysia HSR project."
Guests at the symposium, organised by Japanese ministries, included Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo and Japan's Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii.
There was no doubt about Japan's interest in the project. When asked by The Business Times if Japan would bid for the project, Mr Ishii said that possibility of Japan winning the bid is "very high". He did not give a cost estimate, however, saying that this depends on the specifications that will be revealed later.
At the symposium, Mr Fukasawa showed a graphic that showed how JR East can contribute to the Singapore-KL HSR project should it get the go-ahead.
First would be drafting up of regulations and manuals, which would take two years. Training of key personnel would commence at about the same time, together with technological developments.
Construction of test track and all sections will occur from the third year onwards, and last about four years, ending in the sixth year. Commercial operations can start in the seventh year.