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Extension of Indonesia’s China-backed railway could put ‘Japan brand’ on the line

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Indonesia urged to study feasibility of extending China-backed rail line as Japan mulls exit

Indonesia plans to give China the project to extend the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway line to SurabayaJapan could pull out of the project to protect its brand, as analysts urge Indonesia to go with whichever country offers the best rate given its limited resourcesIndonesiaResty Woro YuniarPublished: 6:36pm, 18 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Indonesia has been urged to launch an open bid and independent feasibility study for an extension of a mega rail project that could involve China, after Tokyo raised fears it might pull out to protect “the Japan brand”.

The US$7.2 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project is part of China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative in Indonesia. The Indonesian government now aims to extend the line all the way to Surabaya in East Java, the country’s second-biggest city some 781km from current capital Jakarta.

President Joko Widodo’s initial plan in 2019 was for Japan to build a semi-high-speed train connecting Jakarta and Surabaya via the northern part of Java Island, while China was to develop the southern railway link. But he now thinks it is more economically sustainable to give China the project to extend the rail link from Bandung to Surabaya.

Japan has signalled that it may step away from the project to prevent any technological issues, according to the country’s cabinet secretary for public affairs Noriyuki Shitaka.

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