City Council Votes To Build Tunnel Between Japan and Korea

An artist's impression of the proposed undersea tunnel between Japan and Korea.

An artist’s impression of the proposed undersea tunnel between Japan and Korea.

Tsushima City council recently voted in favour of the construction of an undersea tunnel to link Japan and Korea in the same way as the Channel Tunnel links the UK and France, despite the fact that it is likely to be a loss-making venture. The proposal has a long history, and this latest vote does not necessarily mean that construction will go ahead.

Interestingly, Tsushima City is also still at the centre of what has become known as the “Buddha Incident”, where a Korean Buddhist statue that had been on display in a temple in the city was stolen by Korean and illegally repatriated. The statue is being kept in Korea until legal proceedings determine its rightful home.

Needless to say, netizens disagree with the idea of building a tunnel to link Japan and Korea, repeating familiar arguments about thier dislike of their continental cousins.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Tsushima City Council Votes To Push For ‘Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel’; Construction Costs Likely To Be 7.8 Trillion Yen, But Will It Turn a Profit?

The city council of Tsushima in Nagasaki Prefecture, which has considerable traffic from Korea, has approved a request to the government for an underwater tunnel that will connect Japan and Korea.

The idea itself that has often been proposed in the past, however this is the first time a municipality has sought government approval. However, there is concern that it is not financially logical, nor is it actually a feasible project at this point in time.

The Channel Tunnel is being used as an example to emphasise the significance of connecting an island country to a continent.

In February 2013, the Tsushima city council received a petition from a private organisation based in Nagasaki city, the ‘Japan-Korea Tunnel Promotion Council’. The petition was discussed at a construction industry standing committee. A report was submitted to the committee for review and was approved on March 26th with no objections voiced from the assembly house. Despite Tsushima-Korea relations being somewhat awkward since the recent thefts of Buddhist statues from Tsushima’s temples and shrines, it appears to not have had any influence over the report.

According to the selected report:
“On Tsushima, ever since Tsushima’s first generation Daimyo Sou Yoshitoshi endeavored to repair Korean-Japanese relations following the Imjin War, there has been a history of efforts to peacefully bring the countries together. It has been 191 years since Napoleon’s proposal, and the Channel Tunnel that connects Britain and France across the Dover Strait has surmounted cross-country tensions by connecting the island of Britain to the European continent and become a symbol of the realization of the European Union.”

The report used the example of the Channel Tunnel to emphasise the significance of connecting an island country to a continent.

“With the completion of the tunnel there would be an increase in the flow of people and trade, and Japan-Korea-China economic zone would expand become reinforced, which will undoubtedly contribute to the economic development of the whole of eastern Asia.”

This description, also included in the text, shows the considerably large scale of the project’s conception.

The tunnel would start on the Japanese side at Karatsu City in Fukuoka, and would go via either Tsushima island or Iki Island, before emerging on the Korean side at Busan or in the suburbs on Geoje Island. There are several plans like this, but in all the plans the tunnel would be somewhere between 210km to 230km. It is expected that the section of the tunnel that runs under the ocean floor will be between 130-140 km. The length of the world’s longest undersea tunnel is the Seikan Tunnel at 53.85km. Even according to simple calculations, the construction needed for the planned tunnels would cost over twice what was required for the Seikan Tunnel. The Seikan Tunnel’s construction costs were over 538.4 billion yen, (project base, overall costs were over 740 billion yen), causing some to label the project as a waste of government money.

undersea-tunnel-proposed-location

Even if 6 million people used it annually, it would generate less than half of that in revenue

In reality, the idea of this Japan-Korea Underwater Tunnel has been examined before at a governmental level. On that occasion, the scale of the plan was bigger than just Japan and South Korea, incorporating a tunnel that would connect Incheon, South Korea to Shandong, China. However, according to a report released in 2011 by the Korea Transportation Research Institute, the project was far from being feasible. The construction would require in excess of ten years, the necessary expenses would cost 123 trillion won (10.4 trillion yen), the Japan-Korea Tunnel would be 92 trillion won (7.8 trillion yen). The proposed Japan Korean Tunnel would be finished in 2050 and would annually transport six million people, but it would generate less than half of that figure in revenue.

Comments from Twitter:

[email protected]社畜準備期間:

What a waste of money… Rather than this, stuff like earthquake countermeasures and the domestic infrastructure should be definitely be strengthened.

こーとく:

We shouldn’t rely upon Korean custom, isn’t it more of a matter of Japanese people spending money in Tsushima…Just what are the tourist attractions in Tsushima? They should do more PR!

HA_Match:

They’re fools. This is typical of country bumpkin politcians.

OyaoyaDare憲法改正!:

What the hell is this!! I will absolutely oppose this!! They can never build this!!!!

dobu:

Even a bridge across the strait would be 1 trillion yen….They use the Channel Tunnel as an example, but obviously you can’t compare Britain with Tsushima.

助⑥:

We’ve just had the incident with the Buddhist statue, what are they thinking?…

はせよ:

Absolutely no merit to this…If Japan carries on like this, other countries will definitely overtake us…

超オスねこ(Ship7):

I think that linking this to the issue of the Buddhist statue is completely senseless, but if they’re going to do it, then I think that it should be in conjunction with national security talks, and I get the sense that it’s not something that’s in the category of things that a local council can do.

あやぱんつ(ペット):

It’ll be a statue free for all(^q^)Heh heh

ATMMO:

The mere idea of connecting with Korea makes my hair stand on end. Japan has nothing to gain from this. Incompetent city council.

tky:

Based on Korea being anti-Japanese, how ever you think about it you have to absolutely against it

星霊@カレージャンキー:

This still isn’t necessary, right?

とむやむくん:

There’s no need to do this!! What in the world is the Tsushima council doing?

NAO:

They’ll lose more than just profit

黒猫:

Does the Tsushima council want to be hijacked?

Kuach:

Nagasaki-based private organisation ‘Japan-Korea Tunnel Promotion Council’←’Organisation for the Protection of Korean Thieves’ more like!

クリスピーネマン:

If they know they’ll go into the red, why do they want to build it? That’s basically the problem. Are they just going to do it at any cost?

miyosanma_:

Huh, as if we need this? After what’s been done to us, are Tsushima idiots?

かめぞう:

Connecting with an anti-Japanese nation via a tunnel, we don’t need this, please stop this!

WATATOMO:

What does it mean to connect with them?

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