Govt eyes maglev line assessment from next year

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, sits next to JR Tokai President Shin Kaneko in a train car of the maglev line during a test run in Yamanashi Prefecture on Saturday.

TSURU, Yamanashi (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida indicated Saturday that the government is aiming to start next year an environmental impact assessment for the unbuilt section of the planned Chuo Shinkansen magnetic levitation line.

“We will provide guidance and assistance while cooperating with local governments along the train line, so (the assessment) can begin next year, in order to move up the opening of the entire line,” Kishida said.

The prime minister was speaking to reporters during his visit to a test maglev line in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture.

The assessment is seen covering areas between Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka Prefecture.

Central Japan Railway Co. , or JR Tokai, aims to open the Chuo Shinkansen line in 2027, but the opening is expected to be delayed as the government of Shizuoka Prefecture, south of Yamanashi, has not approved the start of construction due to concerns about adverse impacts on its water resources.

Kishida said that the national government will “swiftly set up” a panel of experts on environmental protection, as requested by Shizuoka.

On Saturday, the prime minister took a ride on an improved test car for the Series L0 maglev train. A ride on the test car is available to the general public from this month.

Kishida listened to JR Tokai President Shin Kaneko’s explanation as the train car reached the maximum speed of 500 kilometers per hour. “It’s stable,” Kishida said.