Tokyo Train Company Issues Apology For 20-Second Early Departure

Not Released TO GO WITH AFP STORY JAPAN-SOCIAL-LABOUR-MEDIA,FOCUS BY NATSUKO FUKUE

A rail company in Japan has apologised after one of its trains departed 20 seconds early.

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The Tsukuba Express railway connects Akihabara and Tsukuba, two towns that are about 60 kilometres apart in a 45-minute ride, reports Bloomberg.

The overly eager train reportedly pulled out of the Minami-Nagareyama station at 9:44:20 a.m. on November 14.

According to the statement, the train pulled out of a station stop at 9:44:20, rather than 9:44:40, due to staff members failing to check the departure timetable. That's right, 20 seconds.


Japanese trains are world-renowned for their reliability and exact punctuality to the timetable, meaning commuters can arrive at the platform exactly on time for a train.

"We deeply apologise for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers", said Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company in a press statement, adding that the crew did not "check the departure time before performing the departure operation".

Delays are so rare, passengers can even be given a delay certificate to show their workplace or school if trains are delayed by just five minutes.

But at the same time, the fact that Japanese companies care so much about customer satisfaction, consistently try to look at things from the end-user's point of view, and are willing to offer a honest apology even for understandable inconveniences is, really, one of the most handsome parts of Japanese society, and one of my favorite things about living here.

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