Waiting for a train that has yet to be built

Gen Okajima is waiting for a train. He knows it won’t arrive soon, not even in the next few years, but he isn’t feeling anxious or impatient. He says it will come once Australia is ready for it.

Mr Okajima, general manager of the Sydney office of Japan’s biggest railway company, is waiting for the day Australia builds a high-speed rail line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the subject of a federal government study.

It is his job to ensure that when or if that happens, Australia uses Shinkansen, the bullet trains that carry hundreds of millions along Japan’s great network of high-speed rail lines.

Since the Shinkansen technology is a world-class system, we are proud as a nation, Mr Okajima said. And Australia is such an important friend to Japan we are looking to share its benefit.

This partnership would include sharing research and development costs with the Central Japan Railway Company, Mr Okajima’s employer. But the company has been waiting 26 years for high-speed rail to come to Australia. It opened its Sydney office in 1988. For now, its main line of business is exporting Australian wine and snacks such as beef jerky to Japan to be sold on the Shinkansen — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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