In an interview with today's Financial Times, Kasai claims China is operating trains too close to their safe limits "I don't think they are paying the same attention to safety that we are Pushing it that close to the limit is something that we would absolutely never do."
Last November JR Central unveiled plans to market an international version of its N700 series Shinkansen train, although Kasai has ruled out bidding for contracts in China. However, JR East has exported a variant of its 250km/h Kawasaki E2-1000 series high-speed train to China, which is designated CRH2. These trains are now being built in China by Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock under a technology transfer agreement.

Japanese rolling stock suppliers are increasingly looking to overseas markets as demand for high-speed trains declines in Japan after a period of intensive fleet renewal. Last month Hitachi, which is part of the consortium building JR Central's N700, said it plans to double its international rail business to $US 3.8 billion over the next six years. Kawasaki meanwhile is developing its 350km/h Efset train with the primary aim of clinching orders from overseas.

The Japanese government is keen to support the export drive. Last month transport minister Mr Seiji Maehara said the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation should provide financing to help rolling stock manufacturers sell their products overseas. Negotiations are currently underway on how this could be achieved, and a decision is expected within the next few weeks.

Japanese suppliers will be vying with Chinese giants China Northern and China Southern Rolling Stock, which are also pursuing contracts to supply high-speed trains outside their buoyant domestic market.