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Mitsubishi Heavy to back out of maglev train project

Earnings slump forcing Japanese manufacturer to review business lines

Central Japan Railway has been testing maglev train prototypes in Yamanashi Prefecture.

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, one of Japan's leading engineering companies, will withdraw from a 9 trillion yen ($82 billion) prestigious high-speed railway project as it struggles to deal with ballooning developments costs of its other mainstream projects such as a passenger jet.

Magnetic-levitation, or maglev, is a futuristic technology that allows trains to move without making contact with the ground. The technology allows trains to travel at speeds of up to around 500kph, which is significantly faster than the Shinkansen bullet train's 285kph. Travel time between Tokyo and Nagoya, 286 kilometers apart, will be reduced to just 40 minutes from the current hour and a half. Japan aims to become a world leader in adopting the technology.

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