Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 8 (pp.49–50)

February – April 1996

2 Feb. Freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and caught fire at Cajon Summit, California, killing one crew member, injuring 20 other people and closing major highway
4 Feb. Columbian DC-8 cargo plane caught fire and crashed into houses in Asuncion, Paraguay, killing at least 23 crew and residents
6 Feb. Charter Boeing 757 carrying German tourists home from Caribbean to Berlin and Frankfurt, crashed into sea off Dominican Republic, killing all189 on board
9 Feb. Two commuter trains collided during morning rush hour at Secaucus, New Jersey, killing at least three people and injuring more than 235 others
10 Feb. Road tunnel collapsed in Hokkaido, Japan, killing 20
12 Feb. 300 cars involved in multiple pileup on a fog-bound motorway between Vicenza and Verona, in northern Italy
14 Feb. China-Vietnam Transnational Railway re-opened after lapse of 17 years when services stopped in 1979 during Sino- Vietnamese War
15 Feb. Liberian-registered supertanker, Sea Empress, ran aground near Milford Haven in west Wales spilling 1,000 tons of crude oil, polluting Britain's prized Pembrokeshire coastline and endangering wildlife
16 Feb. Amtrak passenger train bound for Chicago and local commuter train crashed head-on in snowstorm at Silver Spring, Maryland, killing at least12 people and injuring 21
17 Feb. Over 100 dead in Indonesian earthquake off coast of Irian Jaya
18 Feb. 52 confirmed dead when ferry sank in Philippines bound for Cadiz, Negros Island when hit by high seas
24 Feb. Two small aircraft with 4 on board belonging to "Brothers for Relief," a Miamibased group of Cuban exiles, shot down by Cuban military aircraft
26 Feb. USA-made C130 Sudanese military transport aircraft crashed approx. 4 km south of Khartoum killing all 70 on board
27 Feb. Over 200 vehicles involved in nose-to-tail collision killing 15 people in thick fog on expressway in north-west Belgium
29 Feb. B737 owned by Fawcett Airlines, Peru, crashed in mountains near Lima killing117 passengers and 6 crew
4 Mar. Thirty-five cars of freight train derailed at Weyauwega, Wisconsin forcing evacuation of entire town
8 Mar. Royal Mail train collided with derailed freight train carrying chemicals in heavily populated area of Stafford, central England, killing one person and injuring 20
Turkish Cypriot Airlines B727 carrying 109 passengers and crew bound for Istanbul from northern Cyprus hijacked by group of four in military-style dress, claiming to be Chechens. Incident resolved when hijackers surrendered in Munich releasing all passengers unharmed
9 Mar. With services due to begin at end of month, Teito Rapid Transit Authority invited 200 guests to view a movie in makeshift cinema at Namboku Line Ichigaya Station, which was converted temporarily for the event
13 Mar. JR East opened WWW home page on Internet at http://www.jreast.co.jp
16 Mar. JR Group revised schedules in most extensive changes since December 1994. Tokyo projects included extension of Saikyo Line (see page 51), and completion of electrification of 3.1 km between Hachioji and Koraigawa on Hakko-minami Line
18 Mar. JR West and JR Central held ground-breaking ceremony at Yodogawaku, Osaka, site of second control center for Tokaido-San'yo Shinkansen
25 Mar. Transport Ministry approved plan by JR Central to build new shinkansen station next to current station in Tokyo. Construction to start in fiscal 1996 with completion expected by fiscal 2003
IATA announced ratings for world airports, classing Narita 'BB'. IATA announced user-satisfaction ratings for 43 major world airports. Top three were: Manchester Airport (UK), for helpful staff, Changi Airport (Singapore), popular with businessmen, and Schipol Airport (Netherlands) for shopping facilities. Narita, main gateway to Japan, at 42nd place disliked for distance from city
26 Mar. Teito Rapid Transit Authority's Namboku line expanded (see page 51).
27 Mar. Egyptian Airlines Airbus A320 hijacked by 3 in military-style dress en route from Luxor in southern Egypt to Cairo. Hijackers forced aircraft to land near Tobruk and surrendered to Libyan authorities approximately 5 hours after hijacking
30 Mar. JR Tazawako Line closed for 1 year due to shinkansen line construction between Morioka and Omagari (75.6 km). Bus service replaces rail service while wide-gauge tracks laid to replace narrowgauge tracks
Rinkai-Fukutoshin Line running through Tokyo Waterfront Project began operations (see page 51); second stage planned to Osaki will begin operating in 2000 with services running directly into JR Saikyo Line
1 Apr. Outstanding debts of defunct Japanese National Railways reached record ¥27.6 trillion. JNR Settlement Corp., estimates that only about ¥7.6 trillion likely to be repaid, with taxpayers likely to shoulder remaining ¥20 trillion. Government hopes to find ways to dispose of long-term debts in 1997 budget later this year. New tax on fares of JRs to create repayment funds seems most plausible, but most unpopular
5 Apr. Collision involving 300 cars hospitalized 6 people in southwestern Poland. Police blamed pile-up, believed to be Poland's worst, on drivers going too fast in poor weather
9 Apr. Death toll in train derailment in Kiazi, southern Zaire, reached 100. Accident happened after one half of divided train at station rolled back downhill
11 Apr. Fire killed at least 16 people and injured up to 150 at Dusseldorf International Airport. Prosecutors opened negligent homicide probe against construction company whose welding believed to have caused fire
18 Apr. Overcrowded passenger train collided head-on with freight train in northern India, killing at least 54, injuring 74, and sparking riot by angry passengers. Accident appears due to failure of railway worker to change points manually
27 Apr. Toyo Rapid Railway line reopened after twenty-five years of ceasing operations (see page 51)
29 Apr. JR West announces plans to list stocks on Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges
30 Apr. Nearly 60 incidents of sabotage targeted at JR East reported since early April ranging from obstacles on tracks, spraying of hazardous chemical liquids on train seats and floors, to bogus radio signals transmitted from radio communication devices stolen from JR trains. JR East set up special task force to work with police to investigate possible links to organized sabotage

Table: Financial Results of JR Companies


Yoshiyuki Kamei (Liberal Democratic Party member of House of Representatives) appointed Minister of Transport on 11 January. Kamei graduated in Economics from Keio University in 1962. After working for Dai-Nippon Sugar Manufacturing Co. Ltd., elected to House of Representatives at first attempt. Kamei served as Parliamentary Vice-minister of Transport and Chairman of House of Representatives Transport Committee, etc. Currently serving fifth elected term
Teruo Shoji appointed president of Nippon Ryokou Kaihatsu Collected on 29 March. After graduating in law from Tokyo University in 1959, entered Ministry of Transport retiring in July 1988 after serving as Director of Sendai Land Transport Bureau. Director of Airport Division, Director of Japanese National Railways Settlement Corporation, and Vice-president of JR West