A Japan-financed railway repair project in Myanmar was partially suspended from January to March this year due to explosions near the project site, sources informed the Kanagawa Shimbun on April 29. The project started before the February 2021 military coup, and the military regime has described the project as one of the country’s key infrastructure projects. Pro-democracy insurgents may have attempted to impede the project. Construction is expected to resume once the safety of work area has been confirmed.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the operator of the project, declined to comment on the “operational status of the project.”
The project is to repair the 620 km railway linking Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s two largest cities. Japan has lent 263 billion yen for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
According to informed sources, a series of explosions happened in near the construction site in Bago in the central region of the country. In mid-January, a landmine placed alongside the road exploded when a construction car drove by. It was found that there were also explosions in several other locations along the railway, and the test drive of a new Japanese train car was cancelled. (Abridged)