Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 32 (pp.64–65)

February – April 2002

4 FebruaryKinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd., (#3) in domestic Japanese travel industry and Nippon Travel Agency Co., Ltd., (#4) announced withdrawal from planned January 2003 merger citing impact of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in USA
5 FebruaryCivil Aviation Administration of China announced State Council approval for Chinese International Airlines (Beijing) to absorb Air China and China Southwest Airlines, China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) to absorb China Northwest Airlines and Yunnan Airlines, and China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou) to absorb China Northern Airlines and China Xinjiang Airlines
Passenger train collided with freight train approximately 60 km from Durban in South Africa killing 22 and injuring over 100
12 FebruaryDomestic Tupolev 154 of Iran Air Tours crashed after take off from Teheran killing all 13 crew and 118 passengers
14 FebruaryJapanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) approved plan for third-sector Man'yo Railway to take over 12.8-km streetcar of Kaetsuno Railway (Toyama Prefecture) with financing from prefectural and municipal governments
15 FebruaryJR East announced ¥50 billion project to renovate red-brick Tokyo Station building to original three-storey structure with cupola domes, plus construction of new twin high-rise buildings on Yaesu side
Chikage Ogi, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, submitted White Paper (in CD-ROM format with abstract) on Infrastructure and Transport to Cabinet organized around 12 themes, including urban renewal, promotion of tourism, environment-friendly society, etc.
20 FebruaryPassenger train caught fire about 50 km south of Cairo killing 373 passengers
22 FebruaryRemodelled barrier-free Ueno Station opened to mark first step in JR East's Station Renaissance programme by offering community and lifestyle support information
Rapid and local train crashed on JR Kyushu's Kagoshima main line in Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture injuring 77 people
26 FebruaryTwo freight trains collided some 30 km south of Vienna, Austria killing 7 and injuring 15 people
13 MarchTokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) Transportation Bureau took over operation of Ueno Zoo Monorail (0.3 km) after operation shut down in November 2001 due to mechanical problems
According to preliminary 2001 air transportation statistics released by MLIT, although Japan's domestic air travellers numbered 94.15 million (1.3% year-on-year increase), impact of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in USA resulted in first drop (–9.1%) in Japanese international air travel in 8 years to 11.48 million passengers
Iyo Railway in Ehime Prefecture announced debut of new ultra-low-floor tram, bus location system and express and late-night bus services
Korean Ministry of Construction and Transportation and Railway Technology Institute announced development of Korean high-speed electric railcar with maximum speed of 350 km/h using Alstom TGV technology for introduction on Honan Line and Kyunbu High Speed Railway
15 MarchIGR Iwate Galaxy Railroad (IGR Iwate Ginga Tetsudo) and Blue Forest Railway (Aoi Mori Tetsudo) applied to MLIT for permission to take over operation of Morioka–Hachinohe section of Tohoku main line running parallel to Hachinohe extension of Tohoku Shinkansen as category-2 operators and Aomori Prefecture applied for permission to take over facilities as category-3 operator
18 MarchGovernment commission announced new company named Narita New High-speed Railway Access Co., Ltd. to be established in late April to lead construction of new railway to New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) with ¥978 million in start-up capital provided by Chiba Prefecture, Narita Airport Authority, Keisei Electric Railway Co., Ltd., Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., and Japan Air System Co., Ltd.
27 MarchJR East announced fiscal 2002 group management plan to build new line (about 3.8 km) between Ueno and Tokyo permitting direct connections to Tohoku/Takasaki, Joban, and Tokaido lines with target completion date in late FY 2009
Airports Council International (ACI) announced 2.6% drop in air travel worldwide to 3.21 billion as well as 8.4% drop in air freight to 61.57 million tonnes due to impact of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in USA and slumping world economy
28 MarchKinki Nippon Railway filed plan with MLIT to close 20.4-km Hokusei Line in Mie Prefecture from Nishi Kuwana to Ageki on 1 April 2003 due to declining passenger and freight volumes
29 MarchTMG Transportation Bureau announced plan to sell 50 secondhand buses to Ministry of Transportation in Republic of Indonesia at ¥430,000 each
Hankyu Corporation announced paper sale of 84 railway carriages to holding corporation in British Cayman Islands for ¥10.2 billion with carriages to be leased back to Hankyu for extraordinary profit of ¥7.4 billion
Nankai Electric Railway and Wakayama Prefecture announced approval by MLIT of plan filed in February to close 2.6-km Wakayama Port–Suiken section of Wakayama-ko Line
30 MarchEuromed high-speed train from Barcelona to Valencia crashed with express train north of Tarragona in Spain, killing 4 and injuring about 90
31 MarchKijima Line of Nagano Electric Railroad shut down after 77 years of service and replaced by bus service running parallel to line
15 AprilAir China Boeing 767 crashed in suburb of Pusan in South Korea killing 122 passengers and crew
17 AprilJR East's SUICA smart card ticket gate exit system won Prime Minister's Award at 31st Japan Industrial Technology Awards
18 AprilTemporary 2180-m runway began full-scale operation at New Tokyo International Airport (Narita), expanding take off and landing slots by 135,000 to 200,000 per year
Amtrak passenger train derailed in Orlando, Florida killing 4 and injuring over 150
Commander light aircraft crashed into 25th floor of skyscraper in Milan killing pilot and two people in building
Alliance for Early Realization of Joetsu Shinkansen Direct Express (Joetsu Shinkansen Chokko Tokkyu Soki Jitsugen Kisei Domeikai) announced estimated cost of building mini-shinkansen between Nagaoka, Kashiwazaki, and Joetsu at ¥51.9 billion
21 AprilJR East purchased 500 new E231 carriages in 3-car configuration for Yamanote Line with 15-cm greater width to alleviate overcrowding, LCDs to display stations, world news, World Cup reports, etc.
292 people completed Tunnel Walk organized by Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation and local municipalities through 25,810-m Iwate Ichinohe tunnel between Morioka and Hachinohe on Tohoku Shinkansen and world's longest land tunnel
23 AprilDouble-decker commuter train collided head on with freight train in suburbs of Los Angeles killing 2 passengers and injuring 265
26 AprilFair Trade Commission announced intention to approve merger of Japan Airlines and Japan Air Systems scheduled for October
All six JRs announced sale of 2002 Football Pass discount ticket (¥22,000 and valid for 5 days of travel on all JR trains including shinkansen) from 20 May for foreigners visiting World Cup soccer tournament
30 AprilJR Central announced transfer of prototype 300X train, (Japanese holder of 443 km/h speed record in July 1996) to Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) for display at RTRI Wind Tunnel Technical Center in Maihara Town, Shiga Prefecture until August 2002


Kaichiro Nezu
Former President of Tobu Railway Co., Ltd., died on 15 February aged 88. Eldest son of Tobu Railway founder Kaichiro Nezu Senior. Graduated in 1936 from Tokyo Imperial University (now University of Tokyo). Held post of President of Tobu Railway for 53 years from 1941 until 1994 and promoted Tobu Group diversification. Also President of Tobu Department Store for 22 years from 1960

Yasuo Nishimura
Last Chairman of Japan National Railway Settlement Corporation from April 1993 to October 1998 died on 27 March aged 70. After graduating from University of Tokyo in 1954, joined Ministry of Transport where held various posts including Director General of Civil Aviation Bureau before retiring in January 1986

Takashi Sasaki
Managing Director of Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) elected JTB President designate on 26 April. Joined JTB in 1967 after graduating in science from University of Tokyo. Named Director in 1996, and Managing Director in Charge of Western Japan Regional Headquarters in 2000. Will take up post on 28 June when current President Ryuji Funayama becomes Chairman and Company Representative, while current Chairman Isao Matsuhashi becomes Director and Senior Advisor

Sir Peter Parker LVO, KBE
Former Chairman of British Rail (1976–83) and of Mitsubishi Electric Europe BV (1976–96) died aged 77 on 28 April while on holiday in Bodrum, Turkey. Awarded Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by Japanese Government in 1991 for his long association with Japan