JAPAN: The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism and the Governor of Tokyo have agreed in principle that Tokyo Metro Corp should press ahead with two short extensions to improve connectivity in the southeast of the capital.

The publicly-owned operator had previously indicated that it did not intend to pursue further extensions following the opening of the Fukutoshin Line in 2008. However, a recent report prepared by the ministry’s Transport Policy Council has recommended an extension of the Yurakucho Line from Toyosu to Sumiyoshi and the Namboku Line from Shirokane Takanawa to Shinagawa.


Discussing the report with Transport Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba on July 15, Governor Yuriko Koike proposed that the two organisations should look to fund the extensions jointly. The central government holds a 53% stake in the larger of the capital’s two metro operators, following its restructuring in 2004, while the other 47% is held by the city.


The two administrations had previously agreed to privatise the business completely, selling their respective stakes to raise funding for investment. In the light of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the report recommends that the proportion of shares to be sold should be halved for the time being, and calls on the two governments to provide direct financial support for the extension projects.

Koike emphasised that ‘enhancement of the rail network and the improvement of services are important for the sustainable development of Tokyo and a driving force for the growth of Japan as a whole’. Confirming his support for the extensions, Akaba adding that that he wanted to work with the capital to strengthen and develop Tokyo’s international standing.