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Japan wants more 'private' in public-private bullet train funding

Ruling party proposes extending lease payments to 50 years as costs mount

JR Tokai bullet trains sit near Osaka. Japan's ruling party wants rail operators to pay more of the costs of expanding the network. (Photo by Hiromasa Matsuura)

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling party seeks talks with railroad companies to increase their share of the financial burden of extending the nation's shinkansen bullet train network.

The move comes as rising costs of labor and materials test the affordability of Japan's public-private model for railway construction, which has produced some of the world's fastest trains running through a crowded, mountainous landscape.

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