Had Japan gone ahead with the Tokyo Games this summer, the Central Japan Railway Co. would have watched with pride as visitors from all across the globe enjoyed test rides on its magnetically levitated high-speed train, or maglev, which it touts as the world’s fastest.

In this alternate universe without the coronavirus pandemic, it would have been the glorious year of 1964 all over again, when the company’s trademark Tokaido Shinkansen line linking Tokyo and Osaka debuted just nine days before the Tokyo Olympics as a symbol of Japan’s resurrection from the ashes of World War II — boasting what was then, again, the world’s fastest train service.

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