Earlier this month, two different Tokyo District Court sessions associated with the maglev bullet train line now under construction were convened. In one, major contractor Obayashi Corp. was prosecuted for rigging bids for work on the project. In the other, a citizens' network was suing the government to halt it because of the damage it will allegedly cause to the environment and the lives of people who live along the route. The first trial was covered by the mainstream media. The second was virtually ignored by them.
The government loaned Central Japan Railways (JR Tokai) ¥3 trillion in 2016 to help finance the maglev bullet train, which is supposed to start operations between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. Consequently, the project has become one of "national interest," which means the mainstream media generally avoids any negative coverage. The bid-rigging charges, which involve three other construction companies, were impossible to ignore and had to be reported, but covering the citizens' lawsuit requires explanations of planning issues that might have made the government uncomfortable.
In an interview with journalist Hideki Kashida in April 2015, even before the loan was approved, Yasumi Iwakami of Independent Web Journal was already saying that close coverage of the maglev was taboo for the mainstream media. Kashida had just published a book about the project that had been canceled by a previous publisher at the last minute — all printed copies were destroyed before they could be distributed — owing to pressure from parties with connections to JR Tokai.