Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel May Join Old Rivals
Inspired by the success, both economic and political, of the Channel Tunnel linking Great Britain and France since 1994, a special exploratory commission formed by Japan's government is looking at a similar scheme to connect Japan and South Korea.
At just 79 miles in length, the proposed undersea tunnel would run through the islands of Iki and Tsushima. These islands lie between Japan and South Korea in the Tsushima Strait, scene of the Japanese navy's overwhelming victory over the Russian Baltic Fleet in the spring of 1905.
It's hoped that by joining Japan and Korea with a practical transport and communications tunnel that may also be utilized by China and Russia, old wounds and rivalries between these East Asian nations may be relieved.
First proposed in 2002 when the two nations co-hosted soccer's World Cup, the tunnel project has been given new impetus by the government of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who has made improving relations between South Korea and Japan a priority. "This is a dream-inspiring project," commented planning committee chief Seishiro Eto, quoted by Kyodo News. "We'd like to promote it as a symbol of peace-building."
Plans for the tunnel are still in the very early stages, but the preferred route would have terminal stations at Karatsu in southwestern Japan and Busan, one of South Korea's largest seaports.
The 1994 completion of the 31-mile long (23.5 miles undersea) Eurotunnel under the English Channel proved that the technology to construct and maintain large tunnels beneath the seafloor was effective and could be utilized at other locations. (via Agence France-Presse and Japundit)
Japanese Innovations Writer