Japanese Train Commits ‘Truly Inexcusable’ Error of Departing 25 Seconds Early

May 15, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The West Japan Railway Company, nicknamed JR West for convenience, publicly apologized for the early departure of a 12-car train traveling between Notogawa Station and Nishi-Akashi Station. The train, which was scheduled for a 7:12am departure from Notogawa, inadvertently misinterpreted a conductor signal and left the station at 7:11:35am instead. Several passengers who missed their boarding time as a result of the early departure had to wait six minutes for the next line, throwing off their carefully planned itineraries, and one of those passengers reported the incident to JR West.

“The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable,” JR West said in the press release posted on the railway website. “We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again.”

The train route originates in the Shiga Prefecture centrally located on Japan’s main island, and winds past the cities of Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka on its terminus along the coast.

The Notogawa to Nishi-Akashi train route winds past Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe in central Japan. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Although a six-minute delay may sound laughable to many of us hailing from more lax cultures, Japanese schools and businesses are notoriously strict about adhering to traditional values of punctuality as a symbol of respect. In fact, educational resources such as Guidable exist to help clueless gaijin better understand how and what to tell a boss when one is going to be late for work. Another article for dealing with India-Japan business relations emphasizes that punctuality is considered the first step in building trust with Japanese colleagues and employers.

Since travelers [usually] can plan their commutes to a T, that next train to leave Notogawa for Nishi-Akashi, at 7:19am, could easily have thrown off other connecting transits that would have made a number of travelers late for work and school, where serious consequences are often handed down for tardiness offenses.

This isn’t the first time an errant conductor has let down the railway system and all its patrons by departing a few seconds too early. Last November, the Tsukuba Express management apologized for the same issue: A train departing Tokyo for Tsukuba left at 9:44:20, rather than the scheduled 9:44:40. In that incident, no travelers lodged complaints, but the railway system proactively acknowledged its mistake anyway, also promising to “never do it again.”

Featured photo by JR West.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.