[JP] linear Maglev: A symbol of Japan's technological superpower?

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[JP] linear Maglev: A symbol of Japan's technological superpower?

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Linear Shinkansen Line: A "Glimmer of Hope" or a "Centrepiece of Infrastructure Export"?
A symbol of Japan's technological superpower

 A glimmer of hope has appeared in the promotion of the Linear Central Shinkansen Line. While the construction of the 8.9-kilometre section of the line in Shizuoka Prefecture was doomed to failure after Shizuoka Prefectural Governor Heita Kawakatsu refused to allow construction of the 8.9-kilometre section due to concerns about the "declining flow of the Oigawa River", a former Shizuoka City vice-governor who had been a proponent of the line won a landslide victory in the mayoral election in April. The Linear Shinkansen will connect Tokyo (Shinagawa) and Nagoya, a distance of about 300 km, in about 40 minutes at a maximum speed of 500 km/h. As well as being a symbol of "Japan's technological superpower", the line is expected to boost the Japanese economy and serve as a "centrepiece of infrastructure exports". China is also accelerating its linear development. Will the stalemate be broken?

When will the Linear Shinkansen really start operating?

 The governor said: "I have the impression that what the prefecture is doing, and perhaps what Governor Kawakatsu is saying, is 'a bit hard in terms of logic'. Everyone thinks: 'It would be strange if they were still against it.

 On 26 April, Shizuoka City Mayor Takashi Namba made a remote appearance on the Internet news programme "Naoki Momota and Kaoru Arimoto's News Live Broadcast, Asa 8:00! an Internet news programme, on 26 April. He was first elected in the mayoral election held on 9 April and took office on 13 April.

 Mayor Namba, a former deputy director-general of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, supported Kawakatsu's administration as vice-governor and was a key figure in the government's Linear Linear project. However, he won the mayoral election with around 58% of the vote, appealing that "the head of a municipality should not stop (a national project)". The Shizuoka section is part of the Southern Alps Tunnel and is located in Shizuoka City.

 The Linear Shinkansen is a "dream bullet train" that will connect Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes and Tokyo and Osaka in 67 minutes after a 45-year extension. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in office, he once sold US President Barack Obama on the idea that the line could connect New York and Washington in an hour.

 Because of the huge cost, the government considered supporting the project, but JR Tokai anticipated delays due to dependence on government funding and is now pushing ahead with construction on its own. JR Tokai's Honorary Chairman Takayuki Kasai, who died last year, said before his death that "the linear line must be realised for the future of Japan" and that "it is our national mission to bring a leap forward in convenience and service to users".

 Shizuoka Prefecture initially opposed the project, claiming that the tunnel would drain spring water and reduce the flow of the Oigawa River, which feeds the area; JR Tokai explained that all the water would be returned to the river, and the MLIT expert panel also produced an interim report stating that the flow could be maintained.

 In response, Governor Kawakatsu said that 'no solution has been presented' and campaigned against the start of construction in the 2021 gubernatorial election, which he won.

 Recently, a proposal to reduce water intake from the upstream Tashiro Dam was seen as an effective measure to maintain the flow of the Oigawa River, and the prefecture and cities and towns in the basin agreed to enter into talks with TEPCO, which holds the water rights, and JR Tokai. However, Governor Kawakatsu immediately expressed reluctance, saying: "There are some questions.
What were Governor Kawakatsu's real intentions?

 The Sankei Shimbun published an online article on 10 April entitled "Governor Kawakatsu Clearly Stalls Talks to Resolve Linear Water Issue". The article included a comment from a government official: "This is nothing but stalling. This is nothing but stalling and this is not the government.

 In parallel with the linear project, Governor Kawakatsu has called for a new station for the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train to be built directly under Shizuoka airport; JR Tokai has reportedly expressed reluctance because Shizuoka airport is only about 16 km from Kakegawa station.

 At a press conference on 27 April, Governor Kawakatsu said: "I would like them to look more closely at the substance of the discussions on the linear project and see what remains to be resolved in terms of the issues to be discussed.

Translated from Japanese News: https://www.itmedia.co.jp/business/arti ... ws118.html Accessed 2023-05-04

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