Train link could make rail travel from London to Japan a reality


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In a move that will delight backpackers the world over, Russian statesmen have promised that they are in "serious talks" with their Eastern neighbours regarding the extension of the trans-Siberian Express to Japan.

London to Vadivostock - no problem. But is Tokyo next on the list?

London to Vadivostock - no problem.  But is Tokyo next on the list?
Michael Sheridan/ 123RF

Quoted by the Siberian Times, Russia's first Vice Premier, Igor Suvalov, announced that "We are seriously offering Japanese partners to consider the construction of a mixed road and railway passage from Hokkaido to southern part of Sakhalin."

Plans are already being put into place to build rail link between the Russian island of Sakhalin and the mainland. Which means that if Japan accepts Russia's offer, a transport link could be created, joining it with the rest of the continent.

So far the negotiations have looked promising, with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring that the two countries had "A duty to draw a line under this abnormal situation, when there is still no peace agreement." Mr. Shuvalov is just as keen for co-operation, stating that the agreement should be seen as "a reflection of the trust that is being formed between the two countries."

Indeed, this treaty is all the more historic given tensions between the two countries over territories that have been disputed since WWII.

Apart from the obvious benefits to the travel industry, the new rail link would also have a positive effect on the economies of the two countries, specifically in terms of facilitating trade, in particular of oil and gas which is Sakhalin's primary industry.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin stressed that the country was open for business to both East and West, and claimed that the scheme "will help us make the Russian Far East a major global logistics hub."

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Chris Sargent
Posted on 11/09/2017 9 shares
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