Talks on Hokkaido Railway Services Expected to Focus on Cost-Sharing

Politics

Sapporo, Sept. 12 (Jiji Press)--Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, will soon start full-fledged consultations with related municipal governments on what to do with eight loss-making railway sections in the northernmost prefecture.

The railway operator intends to keep trains running on the sections if municipal governments involved agree to shoulder part of the costs to do so.

The upcoming talks are expected to focus on how to split the costs between JR Hokkaido and the municipal governments, informed sources said, adding that striking a deal would not be easy because those municipalities are also financially strapped.

The struggling railway company has been ordered by the central government to present drastic measures to improve its business by fiscal 2023.

There was already concern over the company's financial sustainability when it was born out of the 1987 privatization of the Japanese National Railways because maintenance costs of train cars are higher in the snowy, cold prefecture.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press