JR East says it wants to "drastically change and improve" its Tokyo suburban network through "innovations that incorporate a conceptual breakthrough and are completely free from conventional ways of thinking." JR East says is keen to achieve innovations in technology, by eliminating track circuits and reducing the number of cables, as well as operational innovations such as bi-directional running.

JR East started the tender process in June 2012, and the following month received expressions of interest from 10 manufacturers in both Japan and overseas, which were then invited to submit proposals by the end of October.