Abe inspects maglev train test line with Kennedy

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspected a magnetically levitated train system's test line Saturday with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

Abe, who offered support for the United States to introduce maglev technology in a meeting with President Barack Obama in February last year, invited Kennedy to join the inspection of Central Japan Railway Co.'s line in Yamanashi Prefecture west of Tokyo.

After a briefing on the Tokyo-Nagoya Linear Chuo Shinkansen line project, which is aimed at starting maglev train service in 2027, they boarded a train car together.

After a 40-miniute ride, Abe told reporters that Kennedy found the ride comfortable and that she will report that to Obama. "I would like to promote Japan's technology abroad and want the United States in particular to make use of it," Abe said.

Wayne Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. advocacy group The Northeast Maglev, or TNEM, also road the maglev train with Abe and Kenndy.

TNEM is pressing for the introduction of a maglev train system between New York and Washington in cooperation with JR Central.

Earlier Saturday at a cherry blossom viewing party he hosted in Tokyo, Abe emphasized he is focused this year on economic measures to mitigate any negative repercussions from the April 1 consumption tax hike.

"This year's target is to deliver a real feeling of economic recovery all over the country," said Abe at the event attended by 14,000 people.