NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
TOKYO — A rail company in Japan has apologized after one of its trains departed 20 seconds early.
On Nov. 14, a train on the Tokyo-area Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company’s Tsukuba Express line failed to stick to its timetable.
It was supposed to leave Minami Nagareyama Station, which is just north of Tokyo, at 9:44 a.m. However, the train instead left at 9:43:40, 20 seconds earlier than it’s supposed to.
Tsukuba Express said it had not received any complaints, but it issued an official apology on its website that said, “We deeply apologize for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers.” The mistake happened because staff had not checked the timetable, the statement said.
It is rare for trains in Japan, which has one of the world’s most reliable railways, to depart at a different time to the one scheduled.
Amused journalist Casey Basel, who writes for SoraNews24, said the apology summed up the little things that made Japan so great.
“The fact that Japanese companies care so much about customer satisfaction, consistently try to look at things from the end-users’ point of view, and are willing to offer a sincere apology — even for understandable inconveniences is, really, one of the most beautiful parts of Japanese society, and one of my favourite things about living here,” said the Californian, who now lives and works in Japan.
Any passengers who missed their train because of the error need only have waited four minutes for the next one to arrive.