Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 42 (pp.70–72)

March–July 2005

2 MarchThree-car express train operated by third-sector Tosa Kuroshio Railway went out of control in Sukumo City, Kochi Prefecture, running past buffers and crashing into station building, killing driver and injuring 10 passengers
5 MarchFerry with some 70 passengers capsized off Phuket Island in southern Thailand, drowning six people and leaving 46 others injured or missing
6 MarchLinimo, Japan's first full-scale maglev started service in northern Aichi Prefecture, running 8.9 km between Fujigaoka on Higashiyama Line of Nagoya City subway and Bampaku Yakusa on Aichi Loop Line to provide access to EXPO 2005 AICHI (25 March to 25 September)
10 MarchJapan Airlines (JAL) announced FY2005–07 Mid-term Management Plan to integrate parts of three companies under control of holding company—Japan Airlines International (formerly JAL), Japan Airlines Domestic (formerly Japan Air System), and JAL Sales—by end of FY2006
Two commuter trains collided in centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, injuring 131 passengers and others
12 MarchExpress train derailed in Phu Lôc, central Vietnam, killing at least 11 and injuring about 200 people
13 MarchNew airline in Hokkaido began two round trips each day between Hakodate and Obihiro using Beech 1900D twin-prop aircraft
15 MarchTrain hit pedestrians at manually operated crossing on Tobu Railway's Isesaki Line in Tokyo, killing two people and injuring two others
16 MarchDomestic passenger plane failed to make safe emergency landing near Varandey, Russia, killing 29 of 53 people on board
22 MarchLufthansa German Airlines announced purchase of Swiss International Airlines as wholly owned subsidiary but leaving name unchanged
25 MarchJR East's Joetsu Line between Echigo Kawaguchi and Echigo Takiya re-opened to full double-track operations after repairs to damage caused by Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake
27 MarchHokkaido Chihoku Highland Railway announced decision to close unprofitable 140-km Furusato Ginga Line from April 2006
30 MarchJR Central announced use of ticket cards with built-in ICs for conventional lines in Nagoya area in FY2006, and on Tokaido Shinkansen in FY2007 with future interchangeable use in JR East and JR West areas
31 MarchThird-sector Noto Railway closed 61.0-km Anamizu–Takojima section of Noto Line, leaving only Nanao–Anamizu section (33.1 km) in operation
Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd. (Meitetsu) ended 94 years of history by closing four tramlines
Hitachi Electric Railway (18.1 km between Ayukawa, Omika, and Johoku Oda) in Ibaraki Prefecture closed after 77 years in operation
14 AprilTo strengthen anti-terrorism measures, US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibited passengers carrying cigarette lighters on all domestic flights and any international flight stopping in USA
15 AprilFire broke out in downtown Paris hotel, killing 20 people including 10 children
20 AprilIranian Air Force Saha Airlines passenger plane caught fire after fuselage hit runway on landing at MehrAbad International Airport in Tehran, killing one child and injuring several people
21 AprilExpress collided with standing freight train in Gujarat, western India, killing 24 passengers and crew and injuring 56 people
25 AprilJR West commuter train carrying about 700 passengers derailed on Fukuchiyama Line in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture with first two cars striking trackside apartment and third carriage overturning, killing 107 passengers and injuring many other people; worst rail accident in Japan since 1963
26 AprilDrunk driver of trailer truck crashed through closed railway crossing, colliding with outbound limited express in Minori Town, Ibaraki Prefecture
Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) train struck road-maintenance vehicle on crossing in Unterbergen in Bavaria, Germany and derailed, killing train driver and injuring 15 passengers
27 AprilJapanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) approved plan by Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) to build two new shinkansen sections—148.8 km between Shin Aomori on main island of Honshu and Shin Hakodate on Hokkaido, and 58.5 km between Toyama and Kanazawa on Hokuriku Shinkansen—as well as refurbishment of Fukui Station
Express train and bus collided in central Sri Lanka, killing at least 25 people
Airbus held maiden flight of world's largest plane (A380 seating 555 passengers in typical three-class layout). Company has received 154 pre-orders from 15 airlines with first deliveries to Singapore Airlines (SIA) entering commercial service in spring 2006
3 MayShizuoka Prefectural Police helicopter (Italian Agusta A109K2) crashed into house in Shizuoka City, killing all five people on board
7 MaySmall passenger airplane crashed and burned at Cape York Peninsula in north-east Australia, killing all 13 passengers and two crew
15 MayFerry capsized in river in southern Bangladesh, drowning at least 45 people and leaving more than 40 missing
19 MayJapan's Sagawa Express announced plans to establish new airline and enter air-cargo business starting June 2006 with early morning and late-night flights between Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) and New Chitose, Kita Kyushu, and Naha airports, offering cheap overnight shipping services
22 MayGroundbreaking ceremony held at site of Shin Hakodate Station (in front of Oshima Ono Station) in Ono Town, Hokkaido Prefecture, to mark start of construction of Shin Aomori to Shin Hakodate (148.4 km) section of Hokkaido Shinkansen
25 MaySouthern Moscow hit by major blackout, halting subway and trams and trapping more than 100,000 passengers inside subway cars
26 MayNarita International Airport Corporation announced first financial statement (for fiscal year ending March 2005) since privatization with annual number of passengers passing 30 million for first time since airport opened in 1978
2 JuneNarita International Airport Corporation sent proposal to International Air Transport Association (IATA) for six-tier landing-fee system based on aircraft noise levels with quieter planes charged less
4 JuneGroundbreaking ceremonies held to mark start of construction of 58.5-km section of Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama and Kanazawa, and shinkansen station for Fukui City
9 JuneNankai Electric Railway requested MLIT to delay plan to stop operations on 14.3-km Kishigawa Line until 1 April 2006 prior to takeover by Okayama Electric Tramway
Express train in northern France collided with truck on level crossing carrying propane gas and other inflammables
14 JuneForeign visitors to Japan in 2004 reached 6.138 million (+17.8% over 2003) breaking previous records and first time exceeded 6 million
17 JuneVarig Brazil Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection and now in talks with TAP Air Portugal about restructuring
Helicopter crashed into East River in New York with eight people on board rescued
18 JuneNew 13.5-km monorail supplied by Hitachi, Ltd., and financed by Japanese yen loan opened in Chongqing, China
21 JunePassenger train collided with truck and derailed in southern Israel, killing seven people and injuring about 180
26 JuneJR East started tests on Sendai–Kitakami section of Tohoku Shinkansen of Fastech eight-car shinkansen designed to operate at world record speed of 360 km/h with plans to test up to 405 km/h
30 JuneLocal train rammed stationary train in southern suburbs of Jakarta, Indonesia, killing at least two people and injuring 84
Ferry carrying about 550 passengers smashed into about 20 small boats at wharf in Vancouver, Canada
2 JulyTwo trains collided head on near Bramberg in Austria, killing at least two people, including driver
3 JulyDelhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) opened second 6.5-km section of subway network in New Delhi, India, following December 2004 opening of first 4.5-km section in northern part of city
7 JulyTerrorist bombers attacked three Tube trains and double-decker bus almost simultaneously in London, killing more than 50 passengers and injuring 700 others
All 233 passengers and crew on burning ferry rescued by coastguard vessels and other craft off southern island of Mindanao in Philippines
9 JulyTanker at anchor off Onoda in Yamaguchi Prefecture, hit by freighter during night but no crew injured, although removal of ethylene gas from vessel disrupted local air traffic next day
13 JulyThree passenger express trains operated by Pakistan's national railway collided in southern Sindh, killing 128 passengers and injuring 170 others
14 JulyBoat capsized on Bandganga River in western Nepal, leaving at least 13 dead and more than 60 missing
15 JulyTwo tankers collided off coast of Mie Prefecture, causing fire and killing six crew members
At least 23 passengers killed after bus plunged about 150 m down ravine in South Africa
16 JulyAntonov 32 passenger plane on domestic flight crashed near Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, killing all 55 on board
21 JulySecond terrorist attack on London Tube trains failed when bombs in rucksacks did not fully detonate, but bombers managed to escape arrest
25 JulyJapanese government announced liberalized tourist visas for Chinese nationals
28 JulyTrain in northern India exploded, killing 10 people and injuring 49 others
31 JulyPassenger train derailed after ramming freight train on track between Dalian and Changchun in China, killing six passengers and injuring 30
Ferry caught fire off southern Taiwan, killing four people and injuring 35
Table: Financial Results of JR Companies


Mr Katsuo Haneda
Named President of JAL from 1 April, adding to existing duties as President of JAL International. Joined JAL in 1965 after graduating in economics from Keio University, becoming Director in 1995

Mr Toshiaki Koshimura
Named President of Tokyu Corporation on 16 May. Joined Tokyu after graduating in law from Waseda University in 1964. Became Senior Managing Director in June 2001 after holding posts including Head of Human Resources and Managing Director. Current President Mr Kiyofumi Kamijo to become Board Chairman

Mr Naoki Hirano
Named Board Chairman of Seibu Railway on 24 May. Joined Ministry of Transport (now MLIT) after graduating in law from University of Tokyo in 1965. Posts included Director General of Maritime Transport Bureau and Vice Minister of International Affair, before leaving public sector in 1996 to become JR West Managing Director, Senior Managing Director, and Vice President. Left JR West in 2001, becoming Special Advisor to board of Seibu Railway in February 2005

Mr Takashi Goto
Named President of Seibu Railway on 24 May. Joined Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank (now Mizuho Financial Group) after graduating in economics from University of Tokyo in 1972. Became Operating Officer of bank in 2001, rising to Managing Director of Mizuho Holdings and taking post of Vice President of Mizuho Corporate Bank in 2004. Became Special Advisor to board of Seibu Railway in February 2005

Mr Susumu Yamaji
Former Administrative Vice Minister for Management and Coordination, and former President and Board Chairman of JAL died on 27 May. Joined former Ministry of Transport after graduating in political science from University of Tokyo in 1951. Ended career in public sector in 1985 as Administrative Vice Minister for Management and Coordination, becoming President of JAL in December 1985 and serving as Board Chairman from June 1991 to June 1998

Mr Yorihiko Osuga
Senior Managing Director of Odakyu Electric Railway named President on 31 May. Joined Odakyu after graduating from Waseda University in 1968. After posts including Head of Human Resources and Managing Director, became Senior Managing Director in June 2003. Current Board Chairman and CEO Mr Kunio Toshimitsu and President Mr Toshiyuki Matsuda to leave current posts