Can Mooney build the world's longest undersea tunnel between Japan and South Korea?
Sentence: Kenji Hall
Illustration: Eiko Ojara
For Hirofumi Sato, world peace is not a picture of rice cake.He knows what the consequences of an undersea tunnel connecting Japan and South Korea will be."Cross-border infrastructure will end the possibility of war," Sato said at a wall-mounted Tokyo office with a stunning blueprint for an elaborate highway. "This can bring about permanent peace, and borders and walls between nations become meaningless."
This is a cliché used by Mr. Sato at meetings with Japanese parliamentarians.As Chairman of the International Highway Foundation (IHF), Mr. Sato told the Japanese government in years that the tunnel connecting Karatsu in Kyushu, southwest of Japan, to Pusan, on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, is worth the investment. I've been talking about it.
The length of XNUMXkm is the longest undersea tunnel in the world, four times as long as the Seikan Tunnel in Japan (the railway tunnel connecting Honshu and Hokkaido), and five times as long as the Channel Tunnel.According to estimates by the International Highway Foundation, the construction period is at least XNUMX years and the cost is about XNUMX trillion yen (XNUMX billion euros), but there is a possibility of construction delay and many technologies for excavating the soft layer of the Western Channel West Channel. Issues are not taken into account in this estimation.Is this project really feasible in the first place?Progress has been slow, despite the International Highway Foundation working with politicians for over XNUMX years.
However, Mr. Sato does not show it even if he feels frustrated.Mr. Sato explains that the International Highway Foundation will respond to the intentions of the late Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church (now the Unification Movement International), and the vocation of God.Mr. Moon proposed the International Highway and the Japan-Korea Tunnel in XNUMX.Mr. Moon envisioned that a family living in Tokyo would drive to London.Five months later, the International Highway Foundation (formerly the International Highway Corporation) was established.
Today, the Unification Church of the World Peace is funding a project on the International Highway.Originally planned as a road tunnel, it has now evolved into a euro tunnel and a railway tunnel modeled after the Japanese Shinkansen. Since the establishment of the International Highway Foundation, planning, undersea surveys, and Kyushu It has already spent XNUMX billion yen (XNUMX million euros) on land acquisitions for Tsushima and Iki.
It is unclear how the International Highway Foundation will be able to provide broad support for its ideals, but it will probably be more difficult for Japan and South Korea, which have often fought, to agree on a higher degree of consolidation.But both countries are considering the idea. In XNUMX, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered a study of its feasibility.And the Japanese government's advisory body took up the Japan-Korea Tunnel as one of the joint relationship building projects between Tokyo and Seoul.It is reported that the mayor of Busan budgeted XNUMX million won (XNUMX euros) for the re-investigation of the project last year.
The International Highway Foundation continues to fund construction in Tokyo and Seoul seeking help. "Businessmen withdraw if they are not profitable. Politicians stop planning if they oppose it. But we have a long-term perspective. There must be someone who is willing to pursue their dreams," Sato said. talk.
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