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A Japanese railway company apologized for making a 'truly inexcusable' mistake after a train left 25 seconds early

INSIDER logoINSIDER 5/16/2018 lyang@thisisinsider.com (Lucy Yang)
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A Japanese railway company has made global headlines after one of its trains left a few seconds earlier than scheduled.

Early Friday morning, a train en route to Nishi-Akashi Station departed Notogawa Station at 7:11:35 a.m. instead of 7:12 a.m. on the dot. The West Japan Railway Company, or JR West, later issued a formal apology via a press release on its website, Sora News reported.

a man and a woman standing in front of a train: japanese bullet train © Provided by Business Insider Inc japanese bullet train According to the railway company's statement, the train's conductor "misunderstood" the scheduled departure time and "sent a signal" to leave the station before 7:12 a.m. At that time, several people were still on the platform waiting to board. One of these passengers reported the incident to a station attendant, who contacted the Osaka General Directorate.

"The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable," JR West said. "We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again."

Japan's railway system is known for being one of the most punctual in the world — although recent reports suggest rush-hour congestion causes frequent delays in densely populated cities like Tokyo.

Just last year, managers of the Tsukuba Express Line between Tokyo and Tsukuba apologized after a train departed 20 seconds earlier than scheduled, even though not a single passenger complained.

GALLERY: 21 photos that show what commuting looks like around the world (provided by INSIDER)


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