TOKYO • Japan, fresh from a US$15 billion (S$21.1 billion) rail contract win in India over China, aims to sell its bullet trains to a high-speed line being planned between Singapore and the Malaysian capital, opening a new market for firms from Hitachi to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Japanese Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that the government supports such a bid, Bloomberg reported. He said cooperation between the government and business leaders was crucial in Japan clinching the deal for India's first high-speed rail contract last week.
Japan, which built the world's first high-speed train more than half a century ago, is boosting efforts to export its bullet-train technology to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pledge to triple infrastructure exports to 30 trillion yen (S$350 billion) by 2020.
The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project will have terminus stations in Kuala Lumpur's Bandar Malaysia and Singapore's Jurong East. It is expected to cut travel time to 90 minutes.
Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper reported yesterday that 14 companies and consortiums had been invited to present their ideas for the project, following a recent request for information exercise conducted by Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission and Singapore's Land Transport Authority .
According to the paper, the 14 foreign entities include France's Alstom SA, Germany's Siemens AG, Spain's CAF and Talgo SA, Canada's Bombardier, a group led by China Railway, as well as consortiums from Japan and South Korea.
Both China and Japan are competing with each other for HSR projects around the world. China, the paper said, has been actively lobbying to be a partner for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project.
"As part of the Japan team, we want to cover all aspects of train operations, including operations and maintenance, not just selling trains," Hitachi president Toshiaki Higashihara told reporters in Tokyo yesterday.
"We want to work on delivering a whole package" for the Singapore-Malaysia HSR, he said. Hitachi makes bullet trains while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries manages the construction of high-speed train projects.