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Railroad deemed not feasible in Okinawa

Date Posted: 2001-06-22

Prefectural officials announced Thursday results on the research they commissioned in order to study the feasibility of constructing a railroad in the prefecture. Several citizensí groups have in recent months called for constructing a railroad in the prefecture pointing out that Okinawa is the only prefecture in Japan without rail links.

The study concentrated on two possible scenarios. One model envisioned constructing a conventional rail link stretching from Itoman City to Nago City. The costs for such rail link would be •530 to •590 billion. Another alternative studied the possibility of constructing so called Light Rail Transit (LRT) connection from Naha City to Nago City. The estimated costs for the LTR would be •130 to •190 billion.

This study concluded that in either case, it would be difficult for the railroad to make a profit in the foreseeable future. The study went on to state that it would be almost impossible for the project to be profitable without a massive grant fund from the central government.

Taking into account the results of the study, officials concluded that the project simply would be financially too risky, and thus not very realistic at this point.

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