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JR East starts trial run of bullet train office Cars for passengers

East Japan Railway started a trial run Monday of a plan to convert a car on certain shinkansen bullet trains into office space for passengers, as interest in remote work grows in Japan amid the coronavirus pandemic. Passengers can move to the designated car from their seats freely and without extra charge on some Tohoku shinkansen trains between Tokyo and northern cities, once the service starts. The car has a sound-masking system to ensure privacy, and telecommunication equipment such as remote routers etc.

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To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, passengers will have to wear mask. East Japan Railway will provide alcohol wipes also.  JR East plans to study demand and what equipment is necessary during the trial, eyeing a communication environment comparable to that of a workplace. On a bullet train that departed from Tokyo Station on Monday morning, an announcement called for participation in the trial and several passengers moved to the designated car with their laptops and started work. JR East will run office cars on eight to 10 of its Tohoku shinkansen trains a day during the trial, which will last until Feb. 26.

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