Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 9 (pp.36–37)

May – June 1996

1 May Cargo handled at Sihanoukville, Cambodia's only deep-sea port, jumped 30% from previous year to 707,705 tons
3 May Antonov 24 passenger airliner operated by private Sudanese airline failed to make emergency landing near Khartoum in sandstorm killing all 53 passengers and crew
9 May German parliament approved building of high-speed magnetic levitation train to link Berlin and Hamburg. If financing successful, service schedule to start by 2005, covering 297-km distance in less than 1 hour, 2 hours faster than by conventional train
11 May Valujet DC-9 passenger airliner crashed in Miami Everglades with no survivors among 109 on board. Aircraft returning to Miami after reporting irregularity during take-off
13 May ‘Silk Railroad’ linking Iran and Turkmenistan opened by presidents of both countries. 295-km railroad runs from Tedjen in southern Turkmenistan via Sarakhs to Meshkhed in eastern Iran
20 May British Rail privatization entered final stage with flotation of Railtrack. Eighteen of 25 franchises to operate passenger services still to be auctioned
Ferry sank in Bangladesh River Jamuna killing 100 after collision with another ferry
21 May Ferry capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, leaving 500 dead. Probably carrying over 600 people, or more than 40% over capacity
22 May British Airways became world's most profitable airline with earnings up 29.4% over previous year. Pretax profits of $889 million surpassed $769 million earned by Singapore Airlines, No. 1 last year
25 May Among privatized companies of defunct JNR, JR East, JR Central, and JR West posted higher sales and profits for fiscal 1995 as result of increased passengers and lower interest rates. JR Kyushu returned to black, while JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Freight suffered pretax and net losses
28 May Chinese authorities gave approval to JAL and ANA to use new Japan- Beijing route passing over Seoul cutting current flight time by 1 hour
Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen passengers passed 800 million. 28 May marked 5089 days since preliminary opening of Omiya-Morioka sector on 23 June 1982 with 327.5 million train km travelled over period
30 May JAL net annual operating revenue returned to black for first time since FY 1991 thanks to increase in international passenger traffic and cost-cutting measures. ANA and JAS also posted best-ever operating revenues
31 May Blue Ribbon and Laurel Prizes awarded by Railway Fan Club to JR Kyushu's tilting Series 883 Sonic Nichirin, JR Freight's Car Rack System, and JR Central's Series 383 Shinano
1 June Passenger train hit four loose freight cars from another train in Kemerovo region of Siberia killing 50
3 June Passenger train slammed into crowded bus in Mazatlan, Mexico, killing 33 and injuring 13
6 June Multiple-use prepaid cards with eight magnetic tracks to prevent fare-cheating introduced by bus and train companies in Kanto and Kansai areas of Japan. Cards alleviate through-fare problems by allowing passengers to use transport of more than one company. Card records passenger travel information and provides data on accrued revenue owed to each company
11 June New record set for overseas travel according to 1995 White Paper on Tourism released by Prime Minister's Office. Domestic travellers down 7% from previous year, reflecting natural disasters, other incidents, and economic trends. Length of stay and number of trips per person also down on previous year for second year running. Overseas travel benefitted from strong yen, with total of 15.3 million overseas travellers, 12.7% increase over previous year setting new record
Explosion in Sao Paulo shopping centre killed at least 37, mostly shoppers, and injured over 300. Accident probably
12 June Japan Railway Technical Service (JARTS) concluded agreement with GEIE Alpetunnel which plans to build the world's longest tunnel as part of a new highspeed railway between Lyon and Turin. Japan Railway Construction Public Corp., and the Railway Technical Research Institute to provide technical assistance in constructing 54-km Alps Tunnel
13 June Garuda DC-10 aircraft overran runway during takeoff and burned at Fukuoka Airport, Japan, leaving 3 dead
15 June Japan's postwar road accident victims passed 500,000 mark. Last year number of victims passed 10,000 for 8th successive year. One third of victims over 65 years of age
18 June Kintetsu Group completed resort on Bintan Island, Indonesia. Six Kintetsu Group corporations led by Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. and their joint venture partners held opening ceremony for Bintan Lagoon Golf and Beach Resort on Bintan Island
21 June JR West made official application to have stocks listed on Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges. JNR Settlement Corp., to hold bidding in August to determine selling price, with listing planned for October
22 June With stocks of JR East, JR West and JR Central already listed or in process of listing, JNR Settlement Corp. announced possible completion of JR privatization by end of fiscal 1997
25 June First two cars of Hida No.15 express bound for Takayama from Nagoya derailed when train hit large rock near Gero. Driver and 16 passengers injured

Photo: New railway between Iran and Turkmenistan


Shinichi Sakamoto
Took office as President of JR Hokkaido on 26 June. On graduating from Hokkaido University Engineering Dept., took employment with former JNR. Became director of JR Hokkaido in 1987. In 1993, became Executive Director and Manager of General Planning Division. Outgoing president Yoshihiro Omori to serve as Chairman of Board

Yasuo Shingu
Took office as Chairman of Kansai International Airport on 26 June. Joined Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. in 1948 after graduating from Tokyo University Law School. Became Chairman in June 1992. Served as secretary and representative to Kansai Association of Corporate Executives from 1990 until April 1992

Kiyoyasu Mikanagi
Took office as President of Kansai International Airport on 26 June. Joined Ministry of Transport in 1958 after graduating from Tokyo University Engineering Department. Retired from Ministry in September 1991 after serving as Chief of Ports and Harbors Bureau

Hiroyuki Toda
Took office as President of Seibu Railway Co. Ltd. on 28 June. After graduating from Waseda University, joined Kokudo Corp. in 1959. Transferred to Seibu Railway in 1973, and became Executive Director in June 1992. President Iwao Nisugi becomes Senior Advisor, and Yoshiaki Tsutsumi continues as Chairman

Hiroshi Imamichi
Took office as President of Hankyu Express International Co., Ltd. (travel agency) on 28 June. After graduating from Kyushu University, joined Hankyu Railway. Appointed Managing Director and Manager of Logistics Division in 1994

Ryuji Funayama
Took office as President of Japan Travel Bureau on 28 June. Joined JTB in 1962 after graduating from Tokyo University of Education. Isao Matsuhashi becomes Chairman, and Chairman Hiroshi Ishida becomes Senior Advisor