Shizuoka Gov. Nixes Early Restart of Maglev Shinkansen Work

Economy Politics

Shizuoka, June 26 (Jiji Press)--Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu said Friday he cannot approve the restart within this month of Central Japan Railway Co.'s <9022> preparatory construction work in the central Japan prefecture for the firm's ultrahigh-speed magnetic levitation Shinkansen train line.

With the Shizuoka prefectural government and the railway operator, better known as JR Tokai, remaining wide apart over environmental and other problems regarding the maglev Shinkansen project, the company's plan to begin operations of the line between Tokyo and Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, in 2027 is now more likely to be set back.

Kawakatsu announced his decision not to approve the preparatory work resumption at his second press conference of the day, held after he and JR Tokai President Shin Kaneko met at the Shizuoka prefectural government office early Friday afternoon.

At the meeting, Kaneko sought afresh the governor's approval for the restart of the work in preparation for the excavation of the 8.9-kilpometer section in the prefecture of a tunnel to be constructed under 3,000-meter-class mountains called the Southern Alps. Kawakatsu showed understanding for the importance of the maglev line, but avoided making a clear statement on whether to approve the restart of the work during the meeting or at the first press conference held right after the meeting.

Kaneko told Kawakatsu at the meeting that he believes JR Tokai can manage to open the maglev line in 2027 if the work is resumed now. But he told reporters after the talks that he could not confirm the governor's thoughts as to whether he approves or disapproves the restart.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press