Kepco may build Korea-Japan cable

Korea Electric Power (Kepco) may build an undersea cable connecting South Korea and Japan to integrate the two countries' electricity grids, according to Korean media reports.

The utility reportedly wants to lay a 50km cable from the South Korean city of Busan to Japan's Tsushima Island.

It also wants to build an additional 140-150km cable connecting Tsushima — which lies between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago — to the western Japanese island of Kyushu.

A senior Kepco executive reportedly told Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper that telecoms magnate Masayoshi Son has met with the Korean utility to discuss the possibility of investing in the undersea cable project.

However, a SoftBank spokesperson in Tokyo denied the report, saying that the JoongAng Ilbo's claims were not factual. The spokesperson declined to provide further comment on the matter.

Son – the chief executive of SoftBank and the founder of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) – initially raised the idea of connecting Japan, South Korea, China, Mongolia and Russia in a single, cross-border electricity network after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

In January, JREF hosted a conference in Tokyo to discuss Son’s “Asian super grid” ambitions.

Seoul-based Kepco has already built a 105km undersea cable connecting Jindo Island in Korea’s Jeollanam province to Jeju Island, which lies south of the Korean peninsula.