Vietnam to use Japanese bullet train technology

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The Independent Travel

Vietnam will use Japanese bullet train technology in a 56-billion-dollar national railway link, an official said Thursday, with Japanese companies in line for multi-billion dollar contracts.

The project will see the construction of a 1,560-kilometre (970 mile) high-speed rail link between the capital Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

"The Vietnam government has decided to adopt the Japanese 'Shinkansen' train technology at a cabinet meeting," said Soichi Matsumoto, an official at Japan's trade ministry.

"Once the plan is officially confirmed by the Vietnam government, Japanese companies with the train technologies - such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - are expected to land contracts," he said.

The current colonial-era system takes three days to travel between the cities. The Shinkansen system, with trains that hit speeds of 300 kilometres (186 miles) per hour, is expected to cut the time to around six hours non-stop.

Japan has marketed its Shinkansen high-speed train system in Vietnam in the face of stiff competition from China and South Korea.

Taiwan has also adopted the Japanese system, while Tokyo has marketed the technology to the United States and Brazil, the official said.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama this week in Washington that he will study the use of the bullet train system, requesting Tokyo's financial support.

"Japan will probably offer yen loans, but details have been yet to be decided," the trade ministry official said.

kh/dwa/dan

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