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Intervention of Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri

Distinguished leaders of Europe, Middle East, and Japan.

On behalf of UPF-Japan and The International Highway Foundation, I would like to offer a few words of greeting!

First of all, I would like to thank Professor Roger Vickerman and Hon. Gozde Dizdar for sharing their knowledge and experience related to the Eurotunnel and Marmaray Tunnel, which will be great precedents for the construction of the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel. Although the details of the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel will be explained by Dr. Nishikawa, I would like to explain the brief history of the project so that the people in Europe and the Middle East can understand that this is not just an idea. We are committed to the realization of this project and it is currently in progress.

Dr. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Universal Peace Federation, proposed the "International Peace Highway Project" at the "10th International Conference on the Unity of the Science" convened in Seoul, South Korea in November 1981. It is the vison of the "Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel" to serve as the terminal of international highways. In 1982, the "International Highway Construction Corporation" was established in Japan. In terms of construction, the ground-breaking ceremony for an inclined shaft was made in Karatsu in 1986, followed by the ceremony in Tsushima Island in 2014.  

On the other hand, research activities have continued since 1983 when Professor Yasuo Sasa of Hokkaido University, the leading figure of the geological survey of the Seikan Tunnel, became the first chairman of the Japan-Korea Tunnel Research Institute. When the Japan-Korea Tunnel is completed, the total length will be 235 km, five times the length of the Channel Tunnel between UK and France. At the Japan-Korea Summit in 2010, the two governments agreed on a "Joint Project towards a New Era for Japan and Korea", and the promotion of the Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel was included to the 21 agendas of the summit. At the end of the summit description, it was said that the project should be promoted with sufficient consent from the leaders and citizens of both countries, leading to the establishment of "Japan Korea Tunnel Prefectural Councils" to stimulate Japanese public opinion. 

Starting with the “Kagoshima Prefectural Council” in 2010, we could finally set up these prefectural councils in all 47 prefectures in August 2018, with many conventions, symposiums, and research meetings along the way. Based on this, "Japan's National Council for the Japan-Korea Tunnel" was launched in November 2017, with Hon. Osamu Uno, a former member of Japan's House of Representatives, becoming the chairman, together with 30 Diet members as advisors, and 70 other board members joining the respective council. Also, the “Kyushu Liaison Council for Japan-Korea Tunnel” has been active in the Kyushu region since 2015. It attempts to utilize the idea of the tunnel in solving many problems such as depopulation, environment pollution, and so on. 

Some experts in Kyushu, such as Dr. Chisato Kajiyama, a former president of Kyushu University, recently published a book on the Japan-Korea Tunnel, together with Mr. Ishii, the first president of Japan Railways Kyushu being one of the authors of the book.It described the tunnel as an important element in Japan's future. In the same way that an agreement was established between Prime minister Thatcher and President Mitterrand for the construction of Eurotunnel, we also aim to establish a bilateral agreement between Japan and South Korea on the tunnel project with support from many members of parliament.  

I hope that through todays webinar, we can all learn from our colleagues from Europe and Turkey to enhance the tunnel project in East Asia. 

Thank you very much for your attention. 

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