AP/Yahoo 'reports' below.
Not a word about safety features.
Japan Claims Longest Overland Tunnel
Sun Feb 27, 5:03 AM ET
TOKYO - Japan created what engineers here call the world's longest overland tunnel on Sunday, when railway workers blasted through a final layer of rock with a governor and other dignitaries looking on.
The 16.4 mile Hakkoda Tunnel will become part of a new bullet train line under construction to link Tokyo with the northern city of Aomori about 360 miles to the north. The tunnel burrows under Mount Hakkoda in Aomori prefecture.
Local television showed 600 or so people sitting in the ribbon-festooned tunnel as they watched officials press a button to clear the last yard of rock with two large explosions. "This is an incredible feeling, it's an incredible memory," Aomori Gov. Shingo Mimura said.
The previous record, set in 2002, was a 16-mile tunnel for a railway line in a neighboring prefecture, according to the Japan Society of Civil Engineers' Web site.
The Hakkoda tunnel will not hold its title for long, however. Japan's Kyodo News agency said a 22.6-mile tunnel is set for completion in Switzerland this spring.