TOKYO (AP) _ An experimental low-friction train hit 312 mph Friday, breaking a Japanese record and nearing the world record set by France's Train a Grande Vitesse.

The test run of Japan's superconducting, magnetically levitated train, MLX01, came before a planned attempt to hit 341 mph next spring, said Taitsuya Anzai, spokesman for Central Japan Railway Co.

That would surpass the TGV's 319-mph record.

Japan's ``bullet trains,'' by comparison, carry passengers at speeds as high as 186 mph and have reached maximum speeds in test runs of 275 mph.

The three-car MLX01 train, developed at a cost of $43.3 million, is a prototype and will not be used for commercial passenger traffic until sometime next century, the spokesman said.