Abe, Kennedy hitch maglev ride

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspected a magnetically levitated train with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on a test track in Yamanashi Prefecture on Saturday.

Abe, who offered support for using the technology in the United States to President Barack Obama in February 2013, invited Kennedy to join him for a test ride on the maglev designed by Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai).

After receiving a briefing on the Tokyo-Nagoya Linear Chuo Shinkansen project, which is aimed at starting maglev train services in 2027, Abe and Kennedy boarded the train together.

After a 40-miniute ride, Abe told reporters that Kennedy found the ride comfortable and that she will report that to Obama. “I would like to promote Japan’s technology abroad and want the United States in particular to make use of it,” Abe said.

Wayne Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. advocacy group The Northeast Maglev, or TNEM, also rode the maglev train with Abe and Kenndy.

TNEM is pressing for the introduction of a maglev train system between New York and Washington in cooperation with JR Central.

Earlier in the day, at a cherry blossom viewing reception he hosted in Tokyo, Abe emphasized that his focus this year is on economic measures and the adverse repercussions of the April 1 consumption tax hike.

“This year’s target is to deliver a real feeling of economic recovery all over the country,” he told some 14,000 people attending the event.