Japan, U.S. to set up conference to exchange train technology information

Kyodo

Japan and the United States agreed Monday to set up a bilateral conference to exchange information about advanced train technology as Tokyo steps up its efforts to export Japanese high-speed rail systems.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii and his U.S. counterpart, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, agreed during a meeting in Tokyo that senior government officials meet roughly once a year to discuss and exchange views on the latest railway technology and safety features. The conference’s first meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism and Foxx also signed a joint statement to promote cooperation in the broader transport sector, such as development of unmanned aircraft systems.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made the export of Japan’s high-speed train systems a pillar of his growth strategy amid toughening global competition with emerging rivals like China.

The government has been promoting a plan to build a magnetically levitated train line linking Washington with Baltimore, Maryland, as well as introducing its bullet train system in California and Texas.

“We would like to cooperate aggressively” in building new train systems in the United States, Ishii said in the meeting, according to a ministry official. Foxx was quoted as telling his Ishii that his country was very interested in Japanese rail technology.

On Sunday, the two transport chiefs rode on a maglev train in central Japan that reached a speed of 505 kph during a 25-minute test ride.

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