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JR Tokai not to review maglev shinkansen project for now

  • July 15, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 10:16 p.m.
  • English Press

Nagoya, July 15 (Jiji Press)–Central Japan Railway Co. <9022> has no plans for now to formally announce a postponement of the launch of its ultrahigh-speed magnetic levitation Shinkansen line or set a new target for its opening, despite a delay in construction work, its president, Shin Kaneko, suggested on Wednesday.

 

The railway operator, better known as JR Tokai, has been unable to restart preparatory work in Shizuoka Prefecture for an underground tunnel for the maglev line, due to opposition from local communities in the central Japan prefecture. The new train line will initially link Tokyo and Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

 

“Even if it is difficult to start operations (of the line) in 2027 (as planned), we will aim to do it as soon as possible,” Kaneko said at a regular press conference in Nagoya.

 

He also expressed concern over a potential delay in the firm’s plans to extend the line to Osaka, western Japan, in 2037 at the earliest, saying, “We want to start preparations for construction work ” in areas between Nagoya and Osaka “as soon as possible.”

 

Realistically, JR Tokai cannot revise the maglev project until more time has passed, Kaneko said, adding that discussions with the central government necessary for the potential change have yet to start.

 

Also, Kaneko categorically denied the possibility of partially opening the maglev Shinkansen line, on the section between Tokyo and Kofu, the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan, ahead of the full Tokyo-Nagoya route, as proposed by Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu. He also absolutely rejected changing the route of the line.

 

Discussions between JR Tokai and Shizuoka Prefecture have stalled due to local concerns over the possibility of the tunnel work leading to a decrease in the amount of groundwater flowing into the Oi River in the prefecture. The stalemate has left the preparatory construction work for the tunnel in limbo, making a postponement in the launch of the line all but certain.

 

The transport ministry hopes to gain understanding for the preparatory work from local communities in Shizuoka by speaking directly with them, and is now making coordination with the Shizuoka prefectural government for setting up such talks.

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