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Japan OKs $2M to study high-speed rail in Maryland

Gov. Larry Hogan, second from right, and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae, second from left, pose for a photo as they sign a Memorandum of Cooperation between Maryland and Japan at the Maryland governor's residence in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The ambassador said Japan has authorized $2 million to help study building a high-speed magnetic-levitation train between Washington and Baltimore. Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan is standing far right. Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith is standing far left. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Gov. Larry Hogan, second from right, and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae, second from left, pose for a photo as they sign a Memorandum of Cooperation between Maryland and Japan at the Maryland governor’s residence in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016.(AP Photo/Brian Witte)

ANNAPOLIS — Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. says his country has authorized $2 million to support a feasibility study on building a high-speed train between Baltimore and Washington.

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae made the announcement Wednesday after signing a memorandum of cooperation between Japan and Maryland with Gov. Larry Hogan. The agreement formalizes trade relations between the state and Japan.

In November, the federal government awarded nearly $28 million in seed money to a private venture seeking to build a high-speed magnetic levitation train between Washington and Baltimore. A 20 percent outside match is required, and the $2 million from Japan will go toward that 20 percent.

The money is for planning and an engineering analysis for the train, which could carry passengers from Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes.