Many of the rail cars in Britain are twenty to thirty years old. They needed to be replaced. Today, Britain decided to order up to 1,400 super express trains from Hitachi. The contract was worth a whopping 7.5 billion pounds.
This contract was controversial right from the beginning. Some complained that much of the manufacturing work would be done in Japan. They argued that more jobs would have been created in Britain had the government chosen Bombardier instead of Hitachi.
Over the next several years, Britain would use this contract as leverage over Japan. When Japan did something that Britain didn’t like, Britain would threaten to revoke this contract.