A woman prays at a monument to victims of the 2005 train derailment in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, on Thursday morning. Photo: FNN/YouTube
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Memorial service held for 107 victims of 2005 fatal train derailment in Hyogo

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About 500 relatives of 107 victims of a train derailment in 2005 and JR West officials attended a memorial service on Thursday at the site of the crash in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

A moment of silence was observed at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment the crash occurred 13 years ago. JR officials laid flowers at the site of the derailment on a section of the JR Fukuchiyama Line between Tsukaguchi and Amagasaki stations, Fuji TV reported. Bereaved families also placed flowers at the site.

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, Kyodo News reported. A monument put up by the company bears the names of the victims.

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.

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.

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7 Comments
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smithinjapan

my comment was solely about family and friends. I try to find the positive in all the negatives.

but you can judge by reading these

Summaries of Major Railway Accident and Incident Reports

http://www.mlit.go.jp/jtsb/railrep.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

zichi: "The Japanese alway remember their own dead."

When it's convenient, yes. For the victims, they are sincere, and I am glad they have a place to mourn. For the guilty, not a thing was done except to spend a bit of money to deflect from the practices that lead to this kind of accident. In fact, they were found NOT guilty despite forcing the kid who push the train to speed and derail. So, they build a monument to look good.

Heck, they probably punish people who stop a few centimeters short of the lines, or who don't speed, by cleaning the memorial and pulling out weeds around the building.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So, it was the norm for staff to be disciplined for ‘going too slow’?

Hardly the reason methinks.

Allowing people to access and leave the train when the trains are packed full of people is the cause of late trains as well as the jumpers, signal box failures, items on tracks, inclement weather etc.

However, that meant little to the upper management concerned with numbers only.

And now?

Now the JR west trains are invariably late.

Looks like lessons were learned!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BigYen - A reminder that even the usually efficient JR system is capable of negligence and human error.

Yep! That's if it was due to negligence and human error. Or, it could have been Japan's worst ever murder/suicide. We will never know for sure.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A reminder that even the usually efficient JR system is capable of negligence and human error.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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.

The not guilty verdict is not surprising in corporate Japan. There was also speculation it was a suicide as the driver was severely depressed from being constantly chastised by his superiors.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Japanese alway remember their own dead.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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