INTERVIEW #4: JR (Japan Railways) East
Mr Takeuchi says that his company sees EU as a potential market to expand, especially in the Central and Eastern part of the EU.
GBMC Interview (2015) with:
Mr Yasushi Takeuchi, Deputy Director,
JR East – Brussels Branch, Brussels, Belgium.
Interview conducted by Philippe & Motoko G. Huysveld
and written by Motoko G. Huysveld.
In the EU, JR East had so far shared offices in Paris. A Branch office, which is also a Sales office, was opened in Brussels, Belgium, in 2013.
The location was chosen due to the fact that both international railways associations UITP and CER were based in Brussels. The selection was also favourable due to its ideal location to gather information and for the reason that the Visa procedure only took 1 month, compared to some other countries.
Mr Takeuchi, Deputy Director of the Brussels Branch Office, says that his company sees EU as a potential market to expand, especially in the Central and Eastern part of the EU. The group is more active in Asia, as it provides consulting services through the affiliated company JIC. The Belgian office is for the moment collecting data in an attempt to globalize business and its territory extends to the EMEA region (EU, Middle East and Africa).
In 2012, JR East bought (M&A) train manufacturer Tokyu Rolling Stock Corporation. It is now renamed as J-TREC.
JR East has its own train manufacturing plants, but the acquisition of Tokyu Rolling Stock provided the group with the technology and know-how to produce almost any type of rolling stock including high-speed trains. The JR East group actively conducts R&D projects in Japan and hold patents for many of the parts used.
National Irish Railways has purchased Passenger Train Carriages made by the former Tokyu Rolling Stock in the past.
In Japan, JR East uses parts from EU manufacturers for its domestic trains. For example, German brake system manufactured by Knorr-Bremse is used for the new generation series E5, E6 and E7 rolling stocks. JR East also uses rail fastening systems made by Pandrol, UK. The company is looking (in Europe) for any new technology or product not available in Japan.
In 2013, Alstom and Japan Transport Engineering Company (J-TREC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly assess the light rail transit and tramway markets. This agreement will lead both companies to jointly contribute to the modernisation of existing tramway lines and the development of new lines in Japan. JR East agreed to actively develop business for the “Citadis” brand (which is well established in Europe) in the Japanese market.
In 2015, JR East has so far already organized Suppliers Days in 4 different countries: Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.
The tours opened up a dialogue with over 190 participants from 159 different organisations, including rolling stock suppliers, suppliers of parts and technologies or trade organisations representing them.
JR East presented various topics ranging from the overview of their company, operations and competitive situation in Japan, R&D and procurement. Over 10 experts from the headquarters in Tokyo and R&D centre attended to explain and answer various questions put forward by the participants.
This initiative reflects their desire to identify potential collaboration partners in European market, as well as to explain the challenges and opportunities of working with them.
About JR East (East Japan Railways Company)
JR East was incorporated in 1987 after Japanese National (JNR) was divided into 6 regional passenger transport companies, 1 freight company, several other small companies in the information, telecommunications and R&D fields. JR East run the operations on former JNR lines in the Greater Tokyo Area, the Tohoku region and the surrounding areas. JR East operates all of the Shinkansen (Bullet train) high speed rail lines, North of Tokyo.
JR East aims to reduce its carbon emissions by half, as measured over the period 1990-2030. This would be achieved by increasing the efficiency of trains and company-owned thermal power stations, as well as by developing hybrid trains.