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News

Japanese train operator criticises Chinese competitors

7 April 2010
The chairman of Central Japan Railway, which operates Japan’s busiest bullet train link, has been highly critical of China’s high-speed rail industry for ‘stealing’ foreign technology and compromising safety.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Yoshiyuki Kasai said his company placed a much greater emphasis on passenger safety, claiming that no one would make a fuss if 10,000 passengers died every year in China. Central Japan Railway is competing with China’s state railways for overseas business, particularly in the US.

So far, it has not bid on contracts in China for fear its technology would be stolen. Foreign manufacturers must operate through local joint ventures, allowing, in some cases, their Chinese partners to absorb their technology.

Many trains on the Wuhan-Guangzhou and Beijing-Tianjin routes are based on models operated by East Japan Railway and built by Kawasaki. Trains on these routes travel at speeds of up to 350kph, more than 25 per cent faster than Shinkansen trains in Japan. Mr Kasai said that the Chinese run the trains at much closer to their maximum safe speeds.
     
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