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JR train staff berated for snoozing, reading comics on duty

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Time to get robots to do their jobs.

4 ( +7 / -4 )

Sounds pretty much like every other Japanese company's driftwood.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Time to get robots to do their jobs.

Sounds like they already are.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

While these all sound like very poor behavior, it seems the internal probe stopped short of investigating the cause. Are these really just lazy employees? Or are these actions the result of poor management, overwork, poor employee training or poor treatment?

A proper investigation would not just have stopped with the blame on these employees. What have they done to ensure this doesn't continue?

17 ( +20 / -4 )

They are going to crack down on people working while "feeling sleepy"? Maybe if they just didn't work them so hard? Na, too obvious, they'll probably institute a system of requiring employees to fill out forms each morning stating that they don't feel sleepy instead. The golden rule is that if a problem can't be remedied through either yelling at subordinates or requiring more paperwork, then it doesn't exist and should be igmored.

12 ( +12 / -1 )

I'd probably be falling asleep too if I worked the way they did.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

why aren't trains automated? seems it would be easy to do.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sleepy? I met once a subway driver, he worked the night shift. From 8pm to 12am, then 4 hours off to sleep in some company room, back to work again from 5am to 8am! I'd be sleepy every day.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

So nothing actually happened, while JR is putting out this press release to show they care?

In another incident, the firm discovered that a 57-year-old male conductor on duty was “intermittently” reading a comic book last month on the Yokohama line, southwest of Tokyo, NHK and Tokyo Broadcasting System said.

I can no longer tell which is more tragic: that a 57 year-old reads comics or that he doesn't understand that he has a job to do. Nevermind...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I have no idea how anyone, staff included, can sleep on trains in Japan? The shouting by the conductors who all sound like Popeye, is very load. Then the annoying music at the station before departing is over the top.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

can no longer tell which is more tragic: that a 57 year-old reads comics or that he doesn't understand that he has a job to do.

The guy running a train full of people is reading on the job, and you're upset about his choice of reading material??

8 ( +10 / -4 )

I'm pretty sure this has to do with work-life-balance, which is virtually non-existent in Japan. Many of these people (and nearly everybody else) work around 10 hours a day and then spend 90 minutes to two hours (or more) commuting every day. They use their limited rest tune for family or other interests and sacrifice their sleeping time for it. Most Japanese only sleep 4-6 hours a night and this trend starts in junior high school. It's no surprise it's becoming a nation of narcoleptic zombies.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@comanteer:

While these all sound like very poor behavior, it seems the internal probe stopped short of investigating the cause.

Welcome to Japan, where they never try to find the root of the problem. Sick? Here is some medicine. House not safe for earthquakes? Just paint it like new and noone will complain. etc etc

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I remember the advice a senior driver gave me when I started driving (goods) trains nine years ago.

"Always bring a book," he said, "for when you're waiting at a red light or when you're waiting for the shunter to finish working his magic down at the back of the train.

"Reading a book while you're waiting makes the wait seem much shorter."

Maybe the guard was reading his comic book while waiting for someone else to finish doing their job before he could resume his own work? I doubt that safety would have been compromised in the slightest. And I doubt that guards in their 50s would hardly be novices in the job.

As for the dozy driver, that is something that is far too common. Its cause is not in the driver, but often in the rostering arrangements that the railway makes for their drivers, which often ensure that drivers are constantly tired. I'm leaving my (Australian) railway employer at present because of the bad effects that rostering is having on my health and my family. I suspect that JR East's driver rosters could be more punishing to employees than the one that I am leaving.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I have no idea how anyone, staff included, can sleep on trains in Japan? The shouting by the conductors who all sound like Popeye, is very load. Then the annoying music at the station before departing is over the top

One look at a train will show you that many can in fact sleep anytime, anywhere on those trains.

If you feel it too noisy, get some noise canceling headphones.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good they conducted the internal probe and better they actually released this. I agree with many issues people bring up in these posts (long hours of work/commute, etc.) however in general I find JR to be a very well run railway (perhaps the best in the world). The complexity of the rail system in Japan and what it takes to keep things working properly with so many trains running and such a tight schedule is quite amazing.

If I compare the rail service in Europe or the U.S. it is not close to being on par with Japan.

It is interesting to hear Wilke's story about leaving the railway in Australia. Living in Japan over 20 years I can attest that it is likely some of these guys and ladies are overworked.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japanese need to learn to relax the way Americans do, right?

The Conrail locomotive crew failed to stop at the signals before Gunpow Interlocking, and it was determined that the accident would have been avoided had they done so. Additionally, they tested positive for marijuana.

Fourteen passengers on the Amtrak train were killed, as well as the Amtrak engineer and lounge car attendant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Maryland_train_collision

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I can no longer tell which is more tragic: that a 57 year-old reads comics or that he doesn't understand that he has a job to do.

Why would you berate someone what choice of media they enjoy? Yes, reading comics whilst on the job and operating something that directly impacts passengers is a massive no, but don't be dickish about adults enjoying comics. That's tragic

0 ( +3 / -3 )

these guys by and large do a very good job under the circumstances, and their job actually has consequences... half of my office is in the crapper for 2 plus hours a day,,,

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This company has over 70,000 employees, taking that into consideration this is a rather tiny percentage and I highly doubt that any corporation of this size has such a small number of problem employees. I also doubt that these are the worst either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A normal day in the office.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You know, if I got reprimanded every time I felt "sleepy" doing something, I would have been fired from every job. I think the article, ( like the probe) needed a little more depth and clarity. if you are so concerned about his reading while conducting, fear not: given the odds he will soon have a memorable mental bookmark when some otaku splats on the windshield.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

that one employee had driven a train through 16 stations in Tokyo earlier this year while feeling sleepy,

Lack of paid holidays or time off? I've no sympathy for the comic readers, but fatigue is something best remedied by proper rest. Something Japan doesn't seem to have grasped

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Is this actually newsworthy?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

the worst are the station staff at small local stations, sit on their fat butts in their little shacks, and if they do get up it's to bow and say a token greeting. Wish they were actually responsible for the upkeep of the station, so many derelict shabby local stations.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

the worst are the station staff at small local stations, sit on their fat butts in their little shacks, and if they do get up it's to bow and say a token greeting.

True. I once went up to the window to let once such person know that someone had illegally entered the train station from the end of the platform, not the ticket gate. The guy refused to even come out and look

0 ( +0 / -0 )

True. I once went up to the window to let once such person know that someone had illegally entered the train station from the end of the platform, not the ticket gate. The guy refused to even come out and look

Then he isn't motivated enough by his company to bother to do anything about it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

reading a book on the train,,really ? does it matter? if its some time between stations and there is nothing to do, why not read a book so long as he does his job when the train is in the station.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Or are these actions the result of poor management, overwork, poor employee training or poor treatment?

are you really trying to defend these workers? i guess you also must support a union. yes, let's blame management for me reading a comic book while driving a train! puh-lease!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

let's blame management for me reading a comic book while driving a train!

Did you actually read the article. Two guards were recorded as having been reading while at work -- one was reading a manga, the other a book.

Guards ("conductors") do not drive trains.

One driver was reported for being sleepy -- not "sleeping" whilst his train went through 16 stations. The article doesn't specify if the train was an "all-stops" or an "express". I know from direct experience how easy it is to be in that situation. It is dangerous, for one's reaction times are far greater when one is sleepy and mistakes are much easier to make.

0 ( +0 / -1 )

If you want to see what East Japan Rail's "cleaning up sloppiness" and beratement look like, go to the accident scene in Amagasaki. JR East is well known for abusing its employees and pushing them, forcing them into far unsafe conditions than that would come about from "being sleepy".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I always read while conducting:music.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you want to see what East Japan Rail's "cleaning up sloppiness" and beratement look like, go to the accident scene in Amagasaki. JR East is well known for abusing its employees and pushing them, forcing them into far unsafe conditions than that would come about from "being sleepy".

Please fact check before posting. JR East operates trains in the Kanto and Tohoku region. It had nothing to do with the Amagasaki crash.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Japan_Railway_Company

The train involved in the Amagasaki crash was operated by JR West.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amagasaki_rail_crash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Japan_Railway_Company

JR East and JR West are legally separate companies with different management. The charges of employee abuse were brought against JR West not JR East as you have claimed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bullfighterMAY. 13, 2016 - 12:05PM JST If you want to see what East Japan Rail's "cleaning up sloppiness" and beratement look like, go to the accident scene in Amagasaki. JR East is well known for abusing its employees and pushing them, forcing them into far unsafe conditions than that would come about from "being sleepy".

Please fact check before posting. JR East operates trains in the Kanto and Tohoku region. It had nothing to do with the Amagasaki crash.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EastJapanRailway_Company

The train involved in the Amagasaki crash was operated by JR West.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amagasakirailcrash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WestJapanRailway_Company

JR East and JR West are legally separate companies with different management. The charges of employee abuse were brought against JR West not JR East as you have claimed.

Nigelboy story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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