Japan and Russia plan to link their telecommunications networks via a new undersea fibre optic cable. The cable, which is expected to be in place by the end of this year, avoids the area south of Taiwan in which many cables suffered damage after a powerful earthquake last year.
The Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System will, as its name suggests, connect Ishikari on Hokkaido, which is the northernmost of Japan's main islands, to Nevelsk, in Russia's Sakhalin.
A memorandum of understanding to build the cable was signed yesterday in Tokyo by Japan's NTT Communications and Russia's TransTeleCom.
It will be able to carry up to 640Gbps of data and will be the shortest uninterrupted route from Japan to Europe. As it avoids Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region it will also serve as a backup should another earthquake disrupt communications.
In late December an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck under the sea off southern Taiwan and was followed in quick succession by two more powerful quakes. The earthquakes severed several major undersea telecommunication cables and the result was widespread telecommunications disruption in many parts of Asia for several days.