Central Japan Railway, or JR Tokai, is unlikely to meet its goal of opening the Chuo Shinkansen magnetic levitation line connecting Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027, President Shunsuke Niwa has said.

"We're not in a situation where we can open it in 2027," Niwa told a meeting hosted by the transport ministry Friday.

JR Tokai gave up the 2027 goal as the Shizuoka Prefectural Government has declined to approve tunnel drilling work due to environmental concerns.

The construction delay in the Shizuoka section directly results in a delay in the opening, Niwa told reporters after the meeting.

The maglev line is unlikely to be opened to the public at least until 2034, according to people familiar with the situation.

Late last year, JR Tokai had altered the planned opening date from 2027 to "in 2027 or later."

JR Tokai signed a contract for construction work on the Shizuoka section in November 2017, when the company aimed to open the maglev line running between Tokyo's Shinagawa Station and Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture, which neighbors Shizuoka, in December 2027.

Once completed, the project is expected to link Tokyo and Nagoya in as little as 40 minutes, and shorten the travel time between the capital and Osaka to just 67 minutes — under half the fastest times on existing bullet trains.

JR Central has said the new line could bring about economic benefits from faster transit times, and serve as a vital backup between the country's three major metropolises in the event of major disasters such as powerful earthquakes involving potential tsunami.