2024年5月9日木曜日

MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD FOR 107 VICTIMS OF 2025 FATAL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN HYOGO - JAPAN

MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD FOR 107 VICTIMS OF 2025 FATAL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN HYOGO - JAPAN 


@Jackie San



West Japan Railway Co (JR West) officials, survivors and relatives of victims of a fatal train derailment in 2005 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, attended a memorial service on Thursday morning.


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.


Since the accident, a memorial service has been held each year, except for 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus.


JR West President Kazuaki Hasegawa placed flowers at a monument bearing the names of the victims. Attendees 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. About 300 people were present at the ceremony.


"We will continue our tireless efforts into the future to ensure the safety of our operations, " Hasegawa said, according to a Kyodo News report.


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. JR West is constructing a new facility to display train cars involved in the accident at a training center in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.


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.

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@Jackie San

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