Social media users are sharing a video of what appears to be a lightning-fast train ride captured from inside, claiming that it shows Japan’s new electric train, reaching a peak speed of 4,800 km/h, enabling it to travel from Osaka to Tokyo (515km) in ten minutes. We have also received this claim on our Whatsapp tipline, which lauds the Japanese people for its train that is “4 times faster than an aircraft” and “2 times faster than an F16”.
(This fact-check has earlier been done by Newschecker Hindi)
Newschecker first ran a keyword search for the terms “Japan electric train 4800km/hr” and “Japan electric train fastest”, which did not throw up any official news reports on such a train or such a speed record. However, we did come across the Maglev trains, considered the fastest in the world at a top speed of around 600km/hour, unveiled in China. We also learnt that the goal of a proposed Maglev project in Japan was to produce a train that could cover the route from Tokyo to Osaka in less than an hour, way more than the time claimed in the viral post.
We then searched for the fastest train from Osaka to Tokyo in Japan at present, which brought us to this news article, dated October 16, 2020. We learnt that the fastest running bullet train between Osaka and Tokyo is the N700S. “The N700S entered into service on July 1  and serves the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which links Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka. It can run up to 360 km per hour, a new record set during a test run in 2019, making it one of the fastest trains in the world. The operating speed, however, will be capped at 285km per hour,” the article read. According to another article, the latest N700 trains travel the 500km (between Tokyo and Osaka) in 2 hours, 25 minutes, again contradicting the viral claims.
Next, we analysed the viral video that shows a speedometer and map of the track on the left, along with a timer on the right-hand side of the video. We noticed a watermark, reading “Fermata Studio”, on the top left-hand corner of the video. We ran a keyword search for the term, which led us to a Youtube channel under the same name.
According to the description, “This channel brings you window view videos of trains and airplanes with speedometer widgets. There are also amusing and thrilling accelerated videos that use unique hyperlapse visual processing techniques. Dedicated to stoic and hardcore speed enthusiasts.”
We ran a reverse image search of the video, which did not throw up any relevant results. However, while doing a search using relevant keywords, we came across this archived version of a 10:12 minute Youtube video, uploaded by Fermata Studio, titled, “[High Speed Simulation] Operating Shinkansen Bullet Train, Osaka to Tokyo (515km) in 10 min”.
The description of the video reads like a disclaimer, stating, “This movie is a fiction. Normally it takes 2.5 hours from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo. Made by a method called ‘Time variant hyper-lapse/time-lapse’. Copy videos with altered titles and descriptions are circulating on Facebook, especially in Brazil and Malaysia. Three fact-checking sites have examined one of them and concluded that the video is fake and the description is false. They have published their findings along with screenshots of the fake video (in Portuguese). Moreover, one fact-checking site is currently investigating the copy videos.” A similar archived Youtube video can be seen here too. We saw that Fermata Studio has uploaded similar time-lapse videos of aeroplanes and trains.
There is no such electric train in Japan that can run at 4800 km/h and cover the distance between Tokyo and Osaka in 10 minutes. The viral video was originally uploaded by a Youtube channel that specialises in producing accelerated time-lapse videos of train journeys.