Japan's transport minister, Chikage Ogi, is visiting China this week to lobby the government to choose trains built by Japanese companies for a US$16 billion high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai. \nOgi, who arrived in Beijing yesterday, is also meeting officials to promote tourism to Japan. News reports have said China favors Japanese technology for the 1,287km line to shorten travel times between the country's capital and its financial center from 13 hours to less than 5. \nHer visit comes after French Trade Minister Francois Loos visited the country in July and lobbied for Alstom SA's Train a Grande Vitesse. \nBoth Japan's Shinkansen and Alstom's TGV are slower than a train developed by Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp AG used to link Shanghai and its main international airport, an option the government considers too expensive for the new line. \n"The race hasn't finished in favor of the Japanese," Loos said in Beijing, after meeting China's planning and railway ministers on July 25 to lobby for the project. \nMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Japan's biggest heavy machinery maker, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the country's second biggest, are among suppliers of the 168-mile-per-hour Shinkansen trains, and are part of a group that has said it plans to bid for the project. \nAlstom's TGV, which it builds and runs, can travel at 186 miles per hour. \nItochu Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Nippon Steel Corp are among members of the Japanese group formed in 1995 to bid for the link. Officials declined to comment on the project. \nEast Japan Railway Co, Japan's biggest railway company, West Japan Railway Co, and Central Japan Railway Co, which operate the trains, are also promoting the technology. \nThe project is one of a number of large infrastructure works planned to ensure China's economic growth doesn't get stymied by the lack of roads, rails and services. \nThe world's biggest dam, the Three Gorges Dam, built to control flooding on the Yangzte River and produce power, started filling up in July. \nThe Chinese government will run a record 320 billion yuan (US$39 billion) budget deficit this year because of increased public works spending. \nAmong works underway are 176,000 kilometers of new roads around the country and a US$3.3 billion railway from western China's Qinghai province to Tibet. \nThe Chinese government hasn't said when it will announce the winning bid for the Beijing to Shanghai link. \nOfficials from the State Development Planning Commission, which is responsible for the project, declined to comment. \nA decision on the contracted may be made by November, the Nikkei Weekly newspaper reported today without citing the source of its information. \nOgi is scheduled to meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan, and deputy ministers of the railway and state planning commissions, according to an itinerary provided by the Japanese Embassy in China. \nThe proposed Beijing-Shang-hai railway will traverse China's two longest waterways, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, and cut across some of the country's most densely populated provinces. \nChina already has the world's fastest train, the US$1.25 billion magnetic levitation train built by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, that started trial runs in May. \nThe train can travel the 19 miles between Shanghai's Pudong airport and the city's financial center in eight minutes, at a speed of up to 267 miles an hour. \nA longer version of the train, called the maglev, will be used to link Shanghai with eastern China's Hangzhou city, cutting the travel time on the 236-mile route to 30 minutes from three hours. \nMaglev technology is unlikely to be used to build the Beijing- Shanghai link, because its cost would make it uneconomical, Wu Xiangming, general manager of Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co, said. \n"From an engineering standpoint, it is feasible to use magnetic-levitation technology to cover the 1,300km from Beijing to Shanghai, but it would come at a huge cost," Wu said. \nThe is a "50-50 chance" Japan-ese companies will win the contract, Ogi said on July 8, according to an AFP report.
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
‘GOOD SIGN’: Thanks to public efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases is on a downward trend, the minister of health said, but told people not to let their guard down The COVID-19 situation appears to be relatively stable and on a downward trend, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as he reported 185 domestic COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. “This seems to be a relatively good sign,” Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily news briefing. In Taipei and New Taipei City, the overall situation seems to be heading in a good direction, he added. He attributed it to public efforts to control the spread of the virus, but warned people against letting their guard down. Of the new local cases, 83 are males and
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was