A Japanese rail company issued an official apology after a train left 25 seconds early

Japanese trains are meticulously punctual.

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Japanese trains are meticulously punctual.
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Creative Commons Zero – CC0

  • The West Japan Railway Company has apologised after a train in central Japan departed its platform 25 seconds early.
  • It didn’t affect any other travel schedules, but one person missed the train.
  • Japan is meticulous about punctuality.

A Japanese railway company has issued an official apology after one of its trains departed the station 25 seconds early.

The West Japan Railway Company’s apology came after one of its express trains left the platform at Notogawa station in central Japan at 7:11:35 a.m., instead of the scheduled 7:12 a.m., on May 11.

The train conductor misunderstood the departure time and closed the train doors ahead of schedule, according to the company’s press release.

The early departure didn’t affect any other travel schedules that day, but led to one person missing their train.

“We inconvenienced our customers very much, and we will strive to prevent this from occurring again,” JR West said in a statement quoted by the country’s Asahi newspaper.

Japan prizes itself on punctuality. Last November, management at the Tokyo-area Tsukuba Express line also apologised for a train leaving 20 seconds early – it had left at 9:43:40 a.m. instead of 9:44 a.m.

According to Casey Baseel, an American blogger living in Japan, this isn’t surprising: Many commuters in the country plan their journeys so that they arrive at the train platform just as the cars pull up.

Japan’s obsession with punctuality has taken a deadly turn in the past, too. In 2005, a commuter train derailed and killed more than 100 people after the driver, running 90 seconds late, sped up.