by Ewa Nowogorski
Japan has an obsession with punctuality, and that obsession is reflected in Tokyo’s subway and train systems. The trains are almost always punctual, with the exceptions of poor weather and human collision accidents, which can sometimes delay trains for over 30 minutes. Accidents are rare, but they still happen.
Some of the most common accidents in Tokyo today relating to trains is human collision accidents. This involves a human body hitting a train. They are so frequent that the term jinshin jiko was coined, literally meaning “human body accident”. Although, some of these collisions are not accidents. Last year, 18 people committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in Tokyo, and the number is expected to increase this year. Train commuters feel no sympathy for the victim, considering them as more of an offender and criminal for delaying their schedules and making their already stressful commutes more of a headache. Your family can even be fined hefty sums of money if your case is ruled as intentional suicide because trains delayed by even a few minutes can cost the economy millions of dollars in lost potential revenue.
Another infrequent but even more devastating problem is train derailments. A derailment occurs when a train travels at a speed that is too fast for the area of track that it is in, causing the wheels of the train to become airborn and leave the track, which then causes the train to tip over and crash into something. Most train conductors receive strict training and are very disciplined, but drivers are constantly under pressure to make up for small delays to keep to schedules. This will involve them to speed up dangerously on certain areas of track where they should not. The most recent derailment accident at the time this article was written happened on October 7th, 2021. It was a driverless train, and actually derailed due to a strong earthquake that jolted the train off its tracks. Indeed, there are many dangerous factos involved when it comes to train accidents.