The Maglev Shinkansen is a super-high-speed railroad of the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai), which aims to create a dual system of transportation for Japan’s major arteries by making it possible to travel between the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka in about one hour, thereby creating a huge urban area and stimulating the economy. The research and development of the Maglev system started about 60 years ago. For a long time, it was called “the super express of dreams” and was highly anticipated.
However, the future that Maglev Shinkansen will bring does not match the sustainable future that we are aiming for now. The Maglev Shinkansen project, which will be one of the largest development projects in Japan, will destroy the precious ecosystem of the Southern Alps, which has a unique topography and geology and is home to many endemic and endangered species. We must not overlook the various sacrifices and risks involved, such as increased concentration in large cities, dependence on local infrastructure development, violation of the rights of residents along the line, massive consumption of energy, and doubts about the safety of public transportation.
Already, various accidents and problems such as water shortage, cave-ins, landslides, and vehicle fires have occurred in various areas along the line where construction is underway, and furthermore, serious problems have arisen in local communities such as violation of residents’ rights and conflicts among residents.