Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 36 (pp.64–65)

February – April 2003

1 FebruarySpace Shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry, killing all 7 crew
13 FebruaryB-747-200 of Japan Asia Airways made emergency landing at Naha Airport after 50-cm hole found in fuselage during flight 400 km north of Naha
17 FebruaryCongestion Tax (£5 or about ¥1000) levied on all traffic entering City of London
18 FebruaryArsonist set fire to subway train in Daegu, Korea, leaving at least 196 dead
25 FebruaryJR Kyushu announced opening of southern section (Shin Yatsushiro–Nishi Kagoshima, 127.6 km) of Kyushu Shinkansen (Hakata–Nishi Kagoshima, 250 km) in March 2004
Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. (Kintetsu) announced plan to securitize and sell Abenobashi Terminal Building in Osaka for ¥65 billion with goal of reducing loans (¥1.7 trillion on consolidated basis)
1 MarchProblems with Flight Data Processing (FDP) system at Tokyo Air Traffic Control Center of Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's (MLIT) caused cancellations of 203 domestic flights and delays to 1443, inconveniencing 270,000 people
Train belonging Alishan Forest Railway (73.0 km) derailed off bridge at Alishan in central Taiwan, killing 17 people and injuring about 150
6 MarchAir Algerie B-737 crashed on takeoff at Tamanrasset Airport, killing 103 passengers and crew with one survivor
MLIT approved transfer of Kinki Nippon Railway's Hokusei Line (20.4 km, 762-mm gauge) to Sangi Railway from 1 April
14 MarchAll Nippon Airways (ANA) Group announced total passengers carried on domestic and international flights in 49-year business history passed 1 billion
15 MarchJR West announced start of electrification of Obama Line (84.3 km) and future through operations of Kyoto–Higashi Maizuru express
19 MarchCoalition forces launched invasion of Iraq
Tokyo's Teito Rapid Transit Authority (TRTA) subway opened 6-km extension to Hanzomon Line between Suitengu-mae and Oshiage, allowing through operation on Tobu Railway's Isezaki and Nikko lines and creating 100-km link from northern Kanto through central Tokyo
JR Central announced opening on 1 October 2003 of Shinagawa Station (shinkansen) under construction between Tokyo and Shin Yokohama stations on Tokaido Shinkansen with service stops mainly by fastest Nozomi trains
JR East started 9 days of high-speed (360 km/h) tests between Urasa and Niigata on Joetsu Shinkansen using latest Series E-1000 trains
ANA announced plans to establish airline business think-tank (provisionally named All Nippon Airways Institute) with spin off from main group in April 2004
20 MarchJR Kyushu announced Tsubame name for shinkansen trains running between Shin Yatsushiro and Kagoshima Chuo
21 MarchCrashed computer controlling ANA's domestic routes caused cancellation of 150 flights and delays to about 300, affecting about 102,000 people travelling through Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
Hawaiian Airlines filed for protection under US Federal Bankruptcy Code, citing falling demand and rocketing fuel prices due to war in Iraq as well as increases in aviation insurance
22 MarchInternational Air Transport Association (IATA) announced possible losses of US$10 billion by world's airlines as result of war in Iraq
25 MarchJR Kyushu announced opening of redbrick Kyushu Railway Museum in Kita Kyushu City with exhibits including steam and electric locomotives
26 MarchMLIT announced tests on Yosan Line between Tadotsu and Sakaide of free-gauge train for operations on shinkansen and other lines
27 MarchThird-sector 3.1-km Kami-iida Link Line opened between Ajima and Heian-dori, linking Nagoya Railroad's Komaki Line with Meijo subway in central Nagoya and allowing direct connections to Komaki and elsewhere
28 MarchHijacker of Turkish Airlines A-310 Airbus carrying 203 passengers and crew overpowered when plane stopped to refuel in Athens
31 MarchCuban Airlines hijacker with hand grenade arrested when plane landed at Key West International Airport in Florida, USA
1 AprilAir Canada, Canada's largest air carrier, filed for corporate reorganization in Toronto district court. De-facto bankruptcy attributed to public's reluctance to travel by air following terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and rising fuel prices due to Iraq War
3 AprilJapanese government recommended postponing non-essential travel to China's Guandong province and Hong Kong due to spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Central Linear Shinkansen Basic Scheme Study Committee formed by MLIT, JR Central, and others, announced initial estimates (including vehicles) for construction of 500-km line between Tokyo and Osaka as anywhere between ¥8.3 trillion and ¥9.9 trillion
6 AprilJR East recorded record service speed of 362 km/h on high-speed test run of Joetsu Shinkansen (Series E2-1000) between Urasa and Niigata
8 AprilJR East announced development of New Energy (NE) Train, world's first hybrid diesel locomotive featuring similar construction to low-pollution hybrid automobiles and regenerative electrical brakes
10 AprilBritish Airways and Air France announced retirement of Concorde ultrasonic passenger jet at end of October 2003 due to prohibitive maintenance costs and declining passenger levels following crash outside Paris in 2001
Shiodome City Center ultra-high-rise multi-purpose development and The Old Shimbashi Station opened on site of Japanese National Railways (JNR) Shiodome Yard
11 AprilMinistry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology cancelled planned supersonic flight testing for joint international next-generation supersonic passenger plane at Japanese National Aerospace Laboratory after determining demand insufficient to justify huge investment
15 AprilKeihan Electric Railway announced full adoption of rail miles programme by end of fiscal 2003, awarding points for travel miles
18 AprilCulture Council of Agency for Cultural Affairs sent finding to Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology specifying red-brick Tokyo Station and seven other buildings as important cultural assets. Tokyo Station partially destroyed in WWII and now being restored by JR East to former condition at completion in 1914
Narita Airport Authority, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Sagawa Express, and 12 other companies initiate joint research on luggage-free overseas trips with travellers' luggage picked up from home by express service, automatically checked-in and delivered to arrival airport for collection
21 AprilUS-based Southwest Airlines announced 14.3% earnings increase for January–March 2003 quarter, bucking worldwide industry trend
30 AprilHisatsu Orange Railway applied to Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for permit to operate Kagoshima main line between Yatsushiro and Sendai after opening of Kagoshima Shinkansen in March 2004


Mr Takeshi Kakiuchi
JR West Vice President to become President on 1 April 2003. Joined JNR in 1969 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo. Joined JR West in 1987 after JNR privatization, becoming board member in 1993, managing director in 1998, and Vice President in June 2001. President Shojiro Nan'ya to become Chairman, taking over from Masataka Ide who becomes board advisor

Mr Shunzo Miyawaki
Respected railway and travel writer died on 26 February 2003 aged 76. After graduating in Western history from University of Tokyo, joined Chuo Koronsha, becoming editor of Chuo Koron. After retiring in 1978, he travelled every JNR line, publishing travel diary as Jikokuhyo Ni Man Kiro (200,000 Timetable Kilometers). Won Kikuchi Hiroshi Award in 1999 for establishing railway travelogue genre

Mr Hiroshi Komori
Vice President of Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation (JRCC) appointed President on 23 March. Joined JNR in 1964 after graduating in engineering from Hokkaido University. Entered JRCC in 1985, becoming head of Shinkansen Division and Director

Mr Toshiyuki Matsuda
Executive Director of Odakyu Electric Railway appointed President from June. Joined Odakyu Electric Railway, after graduating in 1965 in economics from Hosei University, becoming Managing Director in 1997 and Executive Director in 2001. Current President Makoto Kitanaka to become Board Advisor and current Vice President Kunio Toshimitsu to become Board Chairman and Group CEO

Mr Kazuo Sumi
Managing Director of Hankyu Electric Railway named President from late June 2003. Joined Hankyu Electric Railway in 1973 after graduating in political science and economics from Waseda University. Became Head of Railway Planning at head office in 1999, Director in 2000 and Managing Director in 2002. Current President Taro Ohashi to become CEO and current CEO Kohei Kobayashi to become Board Advisor

Mr Tsuguo Nagao
Executive Director of JR West named President from late June 2003. Joined former JNR in 1966 after graduating in law from Kyushu University. Became JR West Director in 1993 and Managing Director in June 2001. Current President Hiroshi Akashi to become CEO and current CEO Hirohiko Yamashita to become Board Advisor

Mr Kan Kato
Vice President of Keio Electric Railway named President from late June 2003. Joined company in 1962 after graduating in commerce from Keio University. After holding positions as company Director and Managing Director became Vice President of Keio Plaza Hotel in 1997 and Vice President of Keio Electric Railway in 1998. Current President Masayuki Saegusa to become CEO and current CEO Koichi Nishiyama to become Board Advisor