Based on my experience as a Diet Member and a minister of state, I have been very impressed, overwhelmed and moved by Rev. Moon’s strong passion and vision for peace. Above all, my heart beats faster with anticipation by hearing his plan of International Highway, which requires humankind to gather wisdom and act according to it, as well as his Japan-Korea Tunnel Project and Bering Strait Tunnel Project.
One of my activities as a Diet member was the promotion of Linear Chuo Shinkansen (Super Express) through utilization of the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System. I served as a secretary-general of the Legislators Organization for the Construction of Linear Chuo Shinkansen, and worked for the League for the Construction of Linear Chuo Shinkansen. The Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System in Japan has already succeeded in its test running. I hope that my experience can help Rev. Moon’s projects for peace.
I. The Linear Chuo Shinkansen and Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System.
The Linear Chuo Shinkansen Project in Japan aims to connect Tokyo and Osaka in approximately one hour at a speed of 500 km per hour through utilization of the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System. Its main purpose is to allow a more diverse and advanced interchange among various areas in Japan; thus correcting the over-centralization of people, power and resources in Tokyo. It will form a new artery for the national land and contribute to the more balanced national land development. The benefit of technology, however, is not limited to Japan; it can be utilized for the development of ground transportation system all over the world.
Since I was elected as a member of the House of Representatives from NaganoPrefecture, which is located on the line of the planned Linear Chuo Shinkansen, I became naturally involved with this project. Mr. Shin Kanemaru (1914-1996), who had been my political boss and the vice president of Liberal Democratic Party, was also deeply involved with this project. He always emphasized that the technology of Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System in Japan is not only for Japan but also for the world. I was very impressed by his vision of using Japanese technology for the sake of global development.
II. Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train System is the Best among Three Types of the Magnetic Levitation Transport
Magnetic levitation transport, or maglev, is a type of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles via electromagnetic force. This method is faster and more comfortable than wheeled mass transit systems. Maglev can potentially reach velocities equivalent to jet aircraft (500 to 580 km/h). Since much of a maglev's propulsion system is in the track rather than the vehicle, maglev trains are lighter and can ascend steeper slopes than conventional trains. They can be supported on lightweight elevated tracks. Due to the lack of physical contact between the track and the vehicle, the only friction exerted is that between the vehicles and the air.
There are three primary types of maglev technology:
1. Electro-Magnetic Suspension (EMS) relies on feedback controlled electromagnets. Example: Transrapid of Germany
2. Electro-Dynamic Suspension (EDS) relies on superconducting magnets. Example: JR-Maglev of Japan
3. Inductrack (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of the United States) relies on permanent magnets.
Japan has test lines of JR-Maglev in Yamanashi prefecture. These facilities include about 18.4 km of rail (including 16.0 km of tunnels). JR-Maglev, MLX01, is a magnetic levitation train system developed by the Japan Railway Technical Research Institute (association of Japan Railway Group), composed of a maximum 5 cars to run on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line. On December 2, 2003, a three-car train set attained a maximum speed of 581 km/h (361 mph) (world speed record for maglev trains) in a manned vehicle run. It is one of the latest designs of a series of maglev trains in development in Japan since the 1970s.
So I am confident that the Superconducting Magnetically-levitated Linear Motor Car is a most promising high speed transportation system in the 21st century. It is a vehicle befitting the requirements of the high speed and massive transportation age, as it operates at more than 500 Km/h, and has the transportation capacity equivalent to the existing Shinkansen. It is a most advanced traffic system, which has less noise and vibration and promises a safe and comfortable ride.
It is also good for the protection of the global environment. The superconductive maglev train, which levitates while traveling, makes the best use of the clean electrical energy. It minimizes the impact on the environment along its line. It is a truly echo-friendly traffic system in a new age.
II. Present and Future of Maglev Train
Now, Japan, Germany, the United States, and China are competing for the development of maglev train technology and commercial use of it. Many of them seem to be stuck due to lack of funds, but I am presently paying attention to developments in China.
Shanghai Magnetic Levitation Demonstration Operation Line is the first commercial high-speed maglev line in the world. Construction began in March 2001, and public service commenced on January 1, 2003. The train can reach 350 km/h (220 mph) in 2 minutes, with a maximum speed in normal operation of 430 km/h (267 mph). The train runs from Longyang Road station on the Shanghai subway line 2 to Pudong International Airport, and the total track length is about 30 km.
China has also decided to build a second Transrapid maglev rail with a length of 160 km from Shanghai to Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev line). China has already started talks about the details of the construction contracts with Germany and Transrapid Konsortium. According to news stories on March 7, 2006, Chinese Minister of Transportation said the line was approved. Construction will probably start towards the end of 2006 and is planned to be completed in time for the 2010 Shanghai Expo, becoming the first inter-city maglev rail line in commercial service in the world. The line will be an extension of the Shanghai airport maglev line.
I regret that Japan falls behind in commercializing her excellent maglev technology.
III. Japanese Technology of Maglev Train Can Contribute to Rev. Moon’s Project of an International Ground Transportation Network.
In the Inaugural Address of UPF at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City, September 12, 2005, Rev. Sun Myung Moon stated as follows:
“Leaders from around the world, let me take the opportunity provided by today's distinguished forum to reiterate my proposal for a truly providential and revolutionary project. For the sake of peace and human welfare, I propose that we build a passage for transit across the Bering Strait, where Satan has historically divided east and west, and north and south, and where the North American and Russian land masses are separated. This passage, which I call the World Peace King Bridge Tunnel, will link an International Highway System that will allow people to travel on land from Africa's Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York, across the Bering Strait, connecting the world as a single community.”
This sounds like a fantasy, but if the technology of maglev train made rapid progress, it is no longer a fantasy. The Superconducting Maglev Shinkansen of Japan is currently the fastest train in the world; so I am confident that Japanese technology of maglev train can contribute to Rev. Moon’s project of an International Ground Transportation Network.
High-speed maglev systems can be expensive to build, but are comparable to the capital costs of building a traditional high-speed rail system from scratch, a highway system or a system of airports. More importantly, maglev systems are significantly less expensive to operate and maintain than traditional high-speed trains, planes or intercity buses. The data coming out of the Shanghai maglev demonstration project indicates that operation and maintenance costs are quite low, and are indeed covered by the current relatively low volume of 7,000 passengers per day.
The Shanghai maglev cost US$1.2 billion to build. The proposed Chuo Shinkansen line is estimated to cost approximately US$82 billion to build. I cannot imagine how much it will cost to construct an International Ground Transportation Network by maglev train system. But if it contributes to the world peace, its value is priceless.
I am encouraged by the following words of Rev. Moon which is also in his Inaugural Address of UPF:
“Ladies and gentlemen, some may doubt that such a project can be completed. But where there is a will, there is always a way—especially if it is the will of God. The science and technology of the 21st century render it possible to construct a tunnel under the Bering Strait. The construction costs are also not a problem. Think of how much money the world is wasting on war. Humanity needs to realize that we are committing fearful sins in the presence of history and our descendants. Let us take one example. How much money has the United States spent on the war in Iraq during the past three years? It is approaching $200 billion. That budget would be more than enough to complete the Bering Strait project."
I would like to see the day when the world is connected as the single community via a maglev train system.