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Memorial service held for 107 victims of 2005 fatal train derailment in Hyogo

16 Comments

West Japan Railway Co (JR West) officials, survivors and relatives of victims of a fatal train derailment in 2005 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, attended a memorial service on Thursday morning.

On April 25, 2005, a speeding train on the JR Fukuchiyama Line jumped the tracks on a tight bend during the morning rush hour and plowed into a residential tower. The driver and 106 passengers died in the accident, which also left 562 people injured in Japan's worst rail disaster for four decades. It was determined later that the 23-year-old driver had been going over the speed limit on a curve because he was running late. The driver had been disciplined twice before the accident for running behind schedule.

Since the accident, a memorial service has been held each year, except for 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus.

JR West President Kazuaki Hasegawa placed flowers at a monument bearing the names of the victims. Attendees observed a minute of silence at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment the derailment occurred on a section of the JR Fukuchiyama Line between Tsukaguchi and Amagasaki stations. About 300 people were present at the ceremony.

"We will continue our tireless efforts into the future to ensure the safety of our operations, " Hasegawa said, according to a Kyodo News report.

JR West has turned the accident site into a place of remembrance where visitors can pray for the dead. It has preserved part of the now-vacant condominium building and covered the location with a roof in 2018. JR West is constructing a new facility to display train cars involved in the accident at a training center in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

In the aftermath of the crash, four JR West executives were charged with professional negligence -- Shojiro Nanya, 72, Masao Yamazaki, 68, Masataka Ide, 78, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 69. All four were found not guilty by the Kobe District Court.

Family members of the crash victims said JR West should have been held accountable for failing to take proper safety precautions such as installing an Automatic Train Stop (ATS) device that can stop a train from traveling too fast. The company's corporate culture of punishing employees for their mistakes was also harshly criticized.

But the court ruled that the four executives did not have proper opportunities to recognize the danger and that they were also not legally obliged to install such a device when the accident occurred.

In June 2017, an appeal filed by lawyers who served as prosecutors in the case was rejected by the Supreme Court.

© Japan Today/KYODO

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16 Comments
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"Since the accident, a memorial service has been held each year, except for 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus."

Why not just have one every half year as well, or every three months? They have ceremonies for anything and everything all the time, so it really dulls the impact of all of them. What's worse is that in this case you have on official saying they will "do their utmost to prevent it from happening again" when they are doing NOTHING, and no one was held responsible for what happened -- or at least not seriously punished.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Alongfortheride

wallace

No one went to prison.

> SpitfireToday 04:51 pm JST

> Did the driver do any time?

> The driver is dead!! How can he?!!

I comment that no one went to prison who was in a position of authority.

"In the aftermath of the crash, four JR West executives were charged with professional negligence -- Shojiro Nanya, 72, Masao Yamazaki, 68, Masataka Ide, 78, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 69. All four were found not guilty by the Kobe District Court."

I didn't ask about the driver that would be Spitfire. I was being sarcastic on Spitfire's comment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wallaceToday  03:44 pm JST

No one went to prison.

SpitfireToday  04:51 pm JST

Did the driver do any time?

The driver is dead!! How can he?!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

JR West and their harsh treatment of staff were to blame for this tragedy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This accident is used as a case study in safety by railroads around the world. My son, a train driver in the UK, learned about this tragedy as part of his training.

The main issue was how being on schedule was the primary goal of JR, above all else, including safety. And, drivers were punished and shamed whenever they were late, in a way that would be considered bullying and workplace harassment today.

Combine that culture of fear and bullying with overwork, and it's a recipe for disaster. This driver had recently been punished, and did not want to go through that experience again.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Spitfire

Did the driver do any time?

Yes. Infinity.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

from the article

The driver and 106 passengers died in the accident, which also left 562 people injured in Japan's worst rail disaster in four decades.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Spitfire

No one went to prison.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The real culprints of this accident was a not well designed railroad, too tight schedulled train services and overworked and stressed driver.

Things has changed since then, rail roads had been revised and fixed as much as possible, time tables revised and security systems introduced. working conditions had improved too.

That does not mean that every thing is perfect nor that this kind of accidents won't happen again, but a lot has been done.

Many people are quick to point fingers either to the train machinist (???, driver???) or the "ever worse working environment in Japan"... but the driver although part of the fault may lay in him, he was also a victim.

And the working conditions in Japan are improving a lot in late years, in some cases the average conditions right now are much better in many ways compared to other countries.... but I suppose many will deny this because either their blindness or just because "is fun"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Did the driver do any time?

If being killed outright counts as "doing time", I guess so. I am shocked so many seem to not know about this tragedy.

Rest in Peace to all victims.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I already posted the answer.

What happened to him?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Did the driver do any time?

I already posted the answer.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Glad to see the picture captured what bowing in Japan really means.

Good one and well noticed.

Corporate Japan showing what it really thinks of the rank and file.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Did the driver do any time?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

No one went to prison.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Glad to see the picture captured what bowing in Japan really means.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

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