Mar 5 - Japanese officials unveil their new bullet train, capable of travelling at speeds of 320 km per hour (198 miles per hour). Jessica Gray reports.
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Japanese officials salute the country's newest bullet train --- the first for 14 years -- to the delight of onlookers.
The train made its official debut on Saturday with a trip to northern Japan departing from Tokyo.
The new aero-dynamic green, pink and silver train called Hayabusa is the fastest currently operating in Japan.
It can travel at speeds of 300 km per hour and is set to increase its top speed by another 20 km per hour by 2012.
Government officials stressed the engineering prowess of the next-generation ride.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR LAND, INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT MINISTRY TOSHIAKI KOIZUMI
"I believe that Hayabusa is top level is terms of its performance, eco-friendliness and technology. I'm convinced that this become an example of Japan's cutting edge technology and that foreign dignitaries will be able to feel just how advanced Japan's high speed rail technology is by simply riding on this train."
The train's route follows the newly extended Tohuko line to Aomori city, more than 700 km north of Tokyo.
The model offers the latest luxuries including leather seats, individual reading lights and leg rests.
Japan's first high-speed train opened in 1964.
Jessica Gray, Reuters
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