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107 victims of 2005 fatal train derailment in Hyogo remembered

11 Comments

West Japan Railway Co (JR West) officials on Sunday placed flowers at a memorial site for 107 victims of a train derailment in 2005 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

Since the accident, a memorial service has been held each year, attended by relatives of victims and JR West officials. But due to the coronavirus, no service was held last year and again this year.

JR West President Kazuaki Hasegawa placed flowers at the site and observed a minute of silence at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment the derailment occurred on a section of the JR Fukuchiyama Line between Tsukaguchi and Amagasaki stations, Fuji TV reported.

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 in 2018. A monument 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.

© RikiWeb

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11 Comments
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I remember that one , once in a lifetime Japan rail disaster, here’s to all the souls flying around, that just happens once in a while !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

JR was 100% at fault but they passed the blame to the driver. It's a real shame true justice will never come for him and his loved ones as he will always be looked upon as the one who caused the accident. May all the victims rest in peace.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I still vividly remember this tragedy. Probably because NHK did a series of stories on some of the victims afterwards. One was a young woman heading to the airport to leave for Europe where she was going to study to an opera singer. Her dream shattered. Another story was about a young man who was on his way to a luxury hotel to begin his first day on the job as a pastry chef. His dream gone. The third story I remember was about a husband and wife in their 60s who had operated a barber shop for about 30 years. Both killed in the accident and their business ended. The people that had come to them for years to get haircuts felt like they had lost family members.

Those kinds of stories make such accidents real to me. Too often, we read about plane crashes, natural disaster victims and we are just given numbers of dead. We tend to forget these were real people who lived, laughed and cried just as we all do.

Everyone has a story to tell but we seldom hear them.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

JR was 100% at fault

I don’t think so, JR is not responsible for the outcome of physics lessons. The train driver was too fast or has even accelerated while driving in a curve. So blame him, or even better his physics or driving teacher who didn’t tell him about forces and their resulting vectors at work when moving masses are in a non-linear movement like curves for instance.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Remember well, used to use that line almost daily. It was very sad, I hope it never happens again. I think the driver was under too much pressure not to be late so went to fast. He was reckless yes but JR no longer punish the drivers for being slightly late after his tragic incident

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Four people found Not Guilty in a Japanese court? With the 99% conviction rate we all hear about, I guess that means the prosecutors were 396 out of 396 on the rest of their 400 cases.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The train driver died in the crash.Had JR retrained the driver or reposted him to a different line instead of threatening him to keep to a punishing schedule which involves train doors opening and closing within seconds then this accident might never have happened...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

For the victims (surviving) and their families it will never be forgotten, ever, and rightly so. But I have to be honest... is every day not some anniversary here? I can understand certain "milestones", like 10 years, 20, 50, 100, but 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and so on? Shall we also mark each month? I think such things should be largely private. I know if I were surviving the victims of such a disaster I wouldn't want it blasted across the media all the time, especially while companies like JR continue to give vapid promises while changing nothing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it can be remembered by the families of the victims but to just reprint the same media story every year is no longer necessary.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whilst I remember this crash from the time, what shocked me the most was the Seconds from Disaster documentary afterwards, which showed that only one person (a doctor) stayed the night looking for more survivors in the crash. He successfully saved one more woman and reported that other people were alive but died during the night. Whereas the main contingent packed up for the night & came back in the morning. I can't imagine what it must have been like for those people having to simply wait for death in the dark.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mlodinow

Whilst I remember this crash from the time, what shocked me the most was the Seconds from Disaster documentary afterwards, which showed that only one person (a doctor) stayed the night looking for more survivors in the crash.

Is that true? The rescuers just went home for the night? That would be absolutely inexcusable, and I have difficulties believing it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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