(Bloomberg) -- The governor of a Japanese municipality and a long-time critic of plans to build the world’s fastest train is stepping down after coming under fire for public comments mocking farmers, according to local reports.

Heita Kawakatsu, 75, told new hires at the prefectural government earlier this week that public servants there are “highly intelligent, unlike people who sell vegetables, or take care of cows,” the Nikkei newspaper and Kyodo News quoted him as saying. 

Central Japan Railway Co. said last week it won’t meet its goal to build a magnetic-levitation train between Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027. The rail operator has been unable to start construction in Shizuoka, even though six years have passed since the signing of a construction contract for a tunnel in the prefecture. The ¥9 trillion ($59.4 billion) project has long faced opposition from the local government because of concerns that excavation will impact river water levels.

In 2016, the government approved a ¥3 trillion loan to help Central Japan Railway fund the Chuo Shinkansen maglev line, which promised to ferry passengers between Tokyo and Nagoya in roughly 40 minutes. Running at more than 500 kilometers an hour, the train will eventually link the capital with Osaka by 2037.

Although it’s unclear what impact the governor’s resignation will have on the timetable, the Shizuoka construction issue was “directly linked to the launch delay” in 2027, Central Japan Railway said.

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