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The campaign for Shizuoka’s next governor begins with all eyes on the magnetic line

The Shizuoka gubernatorial election campaign officially kicked off on Thursday, with the race expected to have a major impact on the future of the delayed magnetic levitation railway project.

Once the magnetic line is fully completed, the travel time from Tokyo to Osaka by bullet train would be reduced to about an hour, from the current two and a half hours. Part of the line was supposed to pass through a tunnel in the northern part of Shizuoka, but construction plans have been postponed due to opposition from outgoing Governor Heita Kawakastu and his supporters, who cited environmental concerns over a local riverbed crucial for agricultural irrigation.

Central Japan Railway (JR Central) had previously planned to complete the maglev line by 2027, but gave up earlier this year due to opposition from Shizuoka. The railway company’s stock price rose slightly after Kawakatsu’s announcement, reflecting hopes that new leadership would help get the project back on track.

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