JR Hokkaido on Sunday said that it found track defects in 97 locations on its Hakodate line which has seen a number of train derailments recently.
The company has been under fire since the latest incident -- the derailment of a freight train last Thursday. JR Hokkaido said the derailment was most likely caused because the tracks had widened beyond the safe limit.
JR Hokkaido President Makoto Nojima apologized to the public for the disruptions to service at a news conference on Sunday, Fuji TV reported. He said the company had made emergency inspections after Thursday's derailment and found that the tracks had widened in 97 locations.
The land ministry has reprimanded the company for having neglected track maintenance.
Transport safety officials believe the heavy rain in Hokkaido this summer has eroded gravel and soil that keep the rail sleepers in place.© Japan Today