Delay in Launch of Japan's Maglev Train Project
Delay in Launch of Japan's Maglev Train Project

Delay in Launch of Japan’s Maglev Train Project

April 4, 2024


The Central Japan Railway Co. has abandoned its plan to introduce a high-speed maglev train between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027 due to ongoing environmental opposition, potentially delaying the project until 2034 or later.


The high-speed rail line, known as the Linear Chuo Shinkansen, was intended to connect Tokyo and Osaka, with trains traveling at speeds of up to 500 kilometers per hour. However, challenges in Shizuoka Prefecture, particularly related to environmental concerns and construction delays, have led to the postponement of the project.


As a result, the new line’s completion, which was originally envisioned to significantly reduce travel times between major cities and serve as a crucial backup in the event of natural disasters, may be delayed until 2034 or beyond.


Heita Kawakatsu, a Japanese governor known for his environmental concerns that have caused delays in a segment of an ultra-high-speed rail project valued at over $60 billion, has been reelected for a fourth term. He secured victory as an independent candidate, winning against a contender supported by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for being home to the renowned Mount Fuji. Kawakatsu’s reelection campaign was centered on the Central Japan Railway’s Chuo Shinkansen project, a magnetic levitation rail line set to connect Tokyo and Nagoya in approximately 40 minutes. His victory potentially sets back the scheduled start of service on the line, initially planned for 2027 but likely to face delays. Kawakatsu emphasizes the need to protect the environment, particularly the waters of the Southern Alps, and has expressed concerns regarding the impact of tunneling for the project on the Oi River and other water sources. Despite draft findings indicating minimal downstream water flow impact, Kawakatsu has stressed the necessity for a scientific discussion and an open dialogue with Central Japan Railway to address these concerns. The construction of the railway has commenced in other segments, but work on the tunnel section in Shizuoka Prefecture, which traverses Yamanashi, Shizuoka, and Nagano prefectures, has not been approved by Kawakatsu. This ongoing impasse has contributed to uncertainties surrounding the completion of this significant rail project, indicating potential delays beyond the currently projected timeline.




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