Keeping time in the military is every serviceman’s religion, but to a Japanese railway company, time is, literally, of the essence and of utmost importance. When one of West Japan Railways’ (JR West) trains departed 25 seconds early, the company apologised for its “truly inexcusable” mistake.
According to a news and media website from Japan, SoraNews24, JR West issued an apology statement last Friday (May 11) after a train at Notogawa Station in Shiga Prefecture, which was running on the Biwako Line, mistakenly left the platform at 7.11.35 am, when it was scheduled to leave at 7.12.00 am.
The site reported that the conductor had thought that the train was supposed to depart at 7.11 am, which was when he closed the doors to the 12-car train.
When he realised his mistake almost immediately, he glanced at the platform but did not notice anyone there. He decided to depart the station over reopening the train doors, as the latter could have resulted in the train leaving later than 7.12 am.
However, there were apparently a few people on the platform who had been hoping to catch the train, and one of them brought up the train’s early departure to a station attendant.
In the official apology issued by JR West, it said: “We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again,” further adding that their staff would receive additional training with regards to the incident. “The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable.”
Even though commuters only had to wait 6 minutes for the next train, which terminates at Nishi Akashi Station in Hyogo Prefecture, trains in Japan have often been recognised as among the most reliable in the world.
Therefore, for people who often plan their commute to a tee, missing a train or experiencing any delay could cause them to miss other transfers on the way to their destinations, which would ultimately cause them to be late for their respective appointments.
Their dedication to punctuality is certainly impressive!