Japanese companies consider investment in railway extension via islands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido.
Sakhalin railway. Picture: Oleg Ananenko
A scheme to extend the Trans-Siberian railway - the longest in the world - to Japan is under active consideration, according to the Tokyo media. The future line could branch out from Kabarovsk and cross the Strait of Tartary by bridge or tunnel to Sakhalin, a Russian island almost the size of Scotland.
The track would then cross to Japan via a tunnel to the island of Hokkaido, La Perouse Strait, or Soya Strait, a similar venture to the crossing under the English channel between England and France.
Our map shows the existing way from Trans-Sib to Sakhalin via the ferry crossing Vanino - Kholmsk (blue line) and the line that should be built to fulfill Japanese project (red dotted line). Picture: The Siberian Times
For the first time it would be possible to travel from London to Tokyo by train. Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported that Tokyo companies are considering the project along with the country's government.
The two key crossings would be of 7 kilometres and 42 km respectively. The Japanese plans were revealed by newspaper Sankei Shimbun. Companies are also studying the possibility of speeding up traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Kazan and Vladivostok, it is understood.
Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported that Tokyo companies are considering the project along with the country's government. Picture: Sankei Shimbun
This project has been studied with a view to supplying the complete equipment, including trains, signaling systems, and new railway track.
The ventures are seen as leading to a revival of not only commercial traffic between the two countries, but also to increased tourism and other human contacts.
The Russian government is keen to make a great leap forward in developing the Russian Far East.
Companies are also studying the possibility of speeding up traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Kazan and Vladivostok, it is understood. Picture: Russian Railways, Krugobaikalskaya
The Japanese newspaper noted that Moscow has previously submitted to Tokyo around 50 long-term cooperation projects, including the creation of an energy bridge for the transfer of electricity from Russia to Japan.
Tokyo has offered Moscow a package of economic cooperation in eight areas. President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Japan in December. But Russian is likely to resist linkage between Japanese investment in Siberia and the Russian Far East with any concessions on the Kurile Islands.
Separately, Russia is seeking investment for a $6.5 billion scheme to create a new generation cargo port - Samarga - capable of handling 80 million tons.
In 2015 Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port handled totally only 5.042 million tonns. Picture: Alfa-Transit
Russian logistics firm Samarga-Holding is behind the venture, which would also involve a new 236 km branch of the Trans-Siberian railway connecting Khabarovsk to the new port.
The Samarga International Transport Corridor was unveiled at the recent Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The project has received backing from the Khabarovsk regional government, with tax relief promised for the first five years of operation.
Samarga-Holding has sought investors throughout the region including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the ROTOBO Business Association of Japan, it has been reported.
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