MRT Piques Visiting Japanese Emperor Naruhito's Curiosity
Jakarta. Japanese Emperor Naruhito kicked off his Indonesia trip by visiting the Japan-funded mass rapid transit (MRT) train depot in Lebak Bulus on Sunday.
Naruhito toured around MRT’s operation control center, while also checking out the heavy and light maintenance activities. According to the emperor's press secretary Shiojiri Kojiro, the project greatly piqued Naruhito's curiosity to the point where he would ask the MRT reps tons of questions.
"Emperor Naruhito asked the reps about what MRT prioritizes. He also wished to know more about the MRT's impact on Indonesia's economy … and how they serve the passengers with disabilities," Kojiro told Indonesian reporters in Jakarta on Sunday evening.
"The MRT representatives told the emperor that they uphold safety and the quality of service. … The reps also said that MRT has certainly become a great boon to the economy and that there are elevators available to make the place more accessible for people with disabilities," Kojiro said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the MRT project.
State-owned news agency Antara reported in February that JICA’s funding portfolio in Indonesia had totaled 551 billion yen or around $3.89 billion with an emphasis on infrastructure development. The financing encompassed the MRT (227 billion yen) and a public housing project (204 billion yen), to name a few.
The MRT system at present has connected Lebak Bulus to the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout.
This marks Naruhito's first goodwill visit since taking the throne as Japan’s 126th emperor in 2019. President Joko “Jokowi'' Jokowi previously invited Naruhito to Indonesia when the former stopped by the Tokyo Imperial Palace in July 2022. Jokowi is scheduled to host Naruhito at the Bogor Palace on Monday.
“Emperor Naruhito hopes to see in person the developments of Indonesia-Japan’s ties,” Kojiro said.