East Japan Railway Co. on Wednesday invited the media to observe a test run of an autonomous bullet train in Niigata Prefecture as it eyes introducing trains without drivers in the future amid a labor shortage.

During the test, conducted in the early hours of Wednesday, the 12-car bullet train ran without any manual intervention after a driver switched it to automatic mode. The E7-series train was piloted remotely from a control center.

It was the first test in Japan of the autonomous operation of a bullet train already in commercial service.