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29 years since the groundbreaking ceremony of the Japan-Korea tunnel - Genji Newsletter January issue

◆29 years since the groundbreaking ceremony for the Japan-Korea Tunnel Today at the Karatsu/Nagoya Incline site
The new year's winds at the Karatsu/Nagoya Incline site were strong due to the southward movement of cold waves from the continent, and the first sunrise was in the clouds.


This year marks the 29th year since the groundbreaking ceremony in October 1986. Several people who were involved at the time, including the first chairman, Mr. Yasuo Sasa, have passed away, and many who were young at the time are now well into old age. Nevertheless, the Japan-Korea Tunnel Project has been steadily passed down to this day as a concrete measure to achieve world peace. Although it is still in the early stages of the 230km long tunnel project, we were able to install a tunnel entrance in Tsushima last year, and have reached the stage of surveying in Iki in preparation for the start of construction.


The Prime Minister of Japan and the President of South Korea shook hands on the border line at the West Tsushima Strait and reported on the current situation on the ground, hoping that the Japan-Korea Tunnel would be upgraded to a "national project." Since the groundbreaking ceremony 29 years ago, excavation work for the research slope has been carried out over three phases, and the slope, which is 6m in diameter, has been dug to a depth of 540m. The tunnel, which runs at a ``1/4 slope'' that drops 1 meter after going 4 meters, reaches sea level 300 meters from the entrance, extending into the underground world below sea level. As the focus of construction has shifted to Tsushima, there are no plans for construction in Karatsu, but you can see and get a feel for the full scope of the Japan-Korea tunnel concept.



[Photo] Around the mouth of the Karatsu/Nagoya inclined shaft


At the top of the sloping shaft, there is an observation deck built towards the west. With a 360-degree view, you can see in front the ruins of Nagoya Castle, which was used by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a base for dispatching troops to Korea 400 years ago, and beyond that you can see the four islands of Yobuko. Kabejima is in the foreground, followed by Ogawajima, Katarashima, and Matsushima. On the right, the main mine coming from Karatsu City to the east and Hakata passes through these islands and heads west toward the southeastern part of Iki, 28 km away. The island of Iki that can be seen across the Genkai Sea feels larger, and you should definitely experience the closeness of this distance.


The dispatch of troops to Korea is a sad incident in the history of Japan and Korea, but Japan has been deeply involved in friendship with Korea, the peninsula, and the continent since the time of Prince Shotoku 1,400 years ago, and even further back in the Yayoi period. Katara Island is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki, where the younger brother of the king of Baekje came to Japan as a messenger, and the woman who accompanied him went into labor just before landing in Karatsu, so he hurriedly took a boat to this island and brought his baby boy. It is recorded that she gave birth to This boy grew up to become King Muryeong, the 25th king of Baekje, and was loved by the people and nicknamed ``King Shima.''


In Gongju, South Korea, the mausoleum of that king remains beautifully preserved.
Historically, Japan and South Korea have had a relationship of ``close and close countries''. Last year, nearly 400 people visited from South Korea, and some of them planted commemorative trees. In addition to pine and cherry blossoms, magnolia, ginkgo, and sharon trees lined the tunnel grounds. The number of visitors to the slope shaft has been increasing year by year, and in 2014, the number of visitors exceeded 1,500, and the groundbreaking ceremony is approaching. When I hear visitors happily commenting that Yobuko's lively squid is delicious, I feel proud that I am contributing to the local community in some way.


In what ways will you contribute to the realization of world peace? You may be able to sense something by asking yourself questions on the borderline of the "extraordinary" that lies beyond the "ordinary."



[Photo] Iki 28km away seen from the observatory, Matsushima on the right in the center

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