May 2, 2015 6:00 am JST
High-speed Abenomics

In California, prime minister promotes Japan's bullet trains

TSUYOSHI NAGASAWA, Nikkei staff writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday pitched the Japanese shinkansen to California's governor for use in high-speed rail lines planned for the U.S. state.

     At his meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown at a hotel here, Abe played up the spotless track record of Japan's bullet trains, known as shinkansen, where there have so far not been any fatal accidents. The prime minister also stressed the trains' ability to transport large numbers of people in a short amount of time.

     As part of his government's economic growth strategy, Abe has been pushing for exports of Japanese technologies and products for infrastructure projects abroad.

     Brown praised the shinkansen's safety and affirmed the importance of speed, comfort and environmental friendliness when choosing a train. But he said that some Californians see high-speed rail as expensive.

     The $67.6 billion high-speed rail project is slated to stretch 837km from San Francisco to Anaheim, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Japanese contractors such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries and East Japan Railway, or JR East, have already announced plans to bid for the project.

     Prior to the talks, Abe showed Brown a shinkansen simulator furnished by JR East inside the hotel. English-speaking employees of the railroad operator described the safety features and acceleration abilities to the governor.

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