The resignation of Shizuoka Prefecture's governor has raised the possibility of a successor who might greenlight the construction of a tunnel through the prefecture for Central Japan Railway's (JR Central) magnetic levitation line connecting Tokyo and Nagoya.

Tuesday's surprise resignation announcement by Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu came just days after the operator of the maglev shinkansen said there would be a delay in its opening due to the governor's refusal to approve construction in the prefecture. The four-term governor is a long-time opponent of construction associated with the next-generation shinkansen.

Citing JR Central’s decision to abandon the planned 2027 opening of the maglev line, Kawakatsu said Wednesday that he chose to resign because it represented a break in the standoff between himself and JR Central, which has centered on environmental concerns.