Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 39 (pp.52–54)

November 2003 – February 2004

1 NovemberKoizumi Cabinet announced results of free time and tourism survey showing 45.5% of respondents not stayed away from home at all during last year (5% up since 1999). Shortage of money cited by 34.3% of respondents with 48.2% wanting more foreign visitors to Japan, 32.4% not, and 90.2% citing fears of increased crime by foreigners
5 NovemberAll Nippon Airways (ANA) started regular domestic freight service between Haneda and Sapporo airports using late-night passenger planes
6 NovemberJR East, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., and three other companies announced plans to build two super-skyscrapers (about 205 m each) at Yaesu side of Tokyo Station
15 NovemberKochi Airport renamed Kochi Ryoma Airport as first airport in Japan named after person (late Edo-period samurai)
Gangplank collapsed under sightseers boarding newly built Queen Mary II (142,200 tonnes) in Saint-Nazaire shipyard, western France, killing 16 people and injuring about 30
18 NovemberMinistry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) announced start of developmental testing of railway signal safety system using quasi-zenith satellite system for high-accuracy global positioning to track trains
19 NovemberSecond Koizumi Cabinet formed after general election on 9 November
JR Central and Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) achieved Maglev world-record rail speeds of 579 km/h (unmanned) and 570 km/h (manned) at Yamanashi Test Track
22 NovemberJR Kyushu's Tsubame reached top design speed of 260 km/h between Shin Yashiro and Nishi Kagoshima on Kyushu Shinkansen with opening scheduled for March 2004
23 JanuaryPath rapid transit service resumed operations between Manhattan and New Jersey 50 months after terrorist attacks on World Trade Center on 11 September 2001
29 NovemberRussian-built Antonov 26 passenger plane crashed after takeoff near Boende in Democratic Republic of Congo, killing all 22 passengers and crew
2 DecemberJR Central and RTRI achieved world-record speed of 581 km/h in Maglev manned running tests on 18.4-km Yamanashi Test Line
4 DecemberTour bus overturned on national highway about 50 miles north-west of Cairo, injuring 18 Japanese passengers and tour guide
5 DecemberSevero-Munaisky Tunnel opened on Baykal-Amur (BAM) Railroad to complete second link between Siberia and Europe 70 years after first planning
Train exploded near Stavropol in southern Russia near Chechen Republic, killing 42 people and injuring 2
JR Kyushu shipped twelve Series 12 passenger trains donated to Philippine National Railways
6 DecemberStar Alliance international organization of airlines announced cooperation with Japanese government's Visit Japan Campaign aimed at attracting 200,000 foreign visitors to Japan by 2010.
13 DecemberBus carrying Japanese tourists overturned outside Cusco in southern Peru, injuring 21 people to varying degrees
Large bus fell 80 m into ravine near Cerro De Pasco north-east of Lima in Peru, killing 24 passengers and injuring 53
16 DecemberBoeing announced full-scale start of design of next-generation 7E7 Dreamliner with capacity of 200 to 250 passengers and scheduled to enter service in 2008
19 DecemberJR East announced tests using mobile phone with built-in SUICA chip to pass ticket gates with aim of commercial introduction within 24 months
20 DecemberMinistry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) approved application by Sendai City for category-1 railway licence to operate planned (2015 opening) 13.9-km linear-motor subway Tozai Line between Dobutsu-koen and Arai
22 DecemberMLIT announced international terminal fee of ¥2,400 for adults starting from 1 April for passengers departing from Haneda Airport on international flights
25 DecemberBoeing 727 bound for Beirut crashed into Atlantic Ocean after taking off from Benin in West Africa, killing 80 people
1 JanuaryUndercarriage of Japan Air System (JAS) MD81 (169 passengers and crew) collapsed while landing at Tokunoshima Airport in Kagoshima, causing left wing to clip runway
National Police Agency announced 7702 traffic fatalities for 2003—7.5% decrease over 2002 and first time below 8000 in 46 years
3 JanuaryFlash Airlines (Egypt) B737 crashed into Red Sea immediately after takeoff from Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik, killing all 148 passengers and crew aboard
Bus caught fire on expressway in China's Jiangsu Province, killing 12 and injuring 14
5 JanuaryArsonist set fire on train at Admiralty Station on Tsuen-Wan line of Hong Kong's MTR subway, injuring 14 people through smoke inhalation.
8 JanuaryJapan Airlines (JAL) began testing 'e-Check-in' biometric authentication system at Japan's New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) and Korea's Inchon Airport with aim of bringing system into full use next year
Bus fell into irrigation canal near Bhakkar in central Pakistan, killing at least 28 people
13 JanuaryPassenger plane crashed on landing at Tashkent in Uzbekistan, killing all 37 people on board.
15 JanuaryFinal section of 2979-km freight and passenger railway opened, linking Adelaide and Darwin in Australia
Direct train service linking India and Pakistan began operations after 2-year hiatus
18 JanuaryCracks found in engines of 20 MD81 planes belonging to JAS, impacting travel schedules of 40,000 people and resulting in lost revenues of ¥500 million
19 JanuaryCargo ship capsized off coast of Norway, leaving two crew dead and 16 missing
21 JanuaryBus fell about 500 m into ravine in southern Peru, killing at least 20 on board
22 JanuaryCessna 172P light aircraft crashed into parking lot next to kindergarten in Kofu, Japan, killing all three on board
23 JanuaryGreek cargo ship sank off coast of Malta, leaving all 17 crew missing
27 JanuaryTokyo's Teito Rapid Transit Authority (TRTA) announced new name of Tokyo Metro for TRTA subways to be privatized in April 2004
28 JanuaryJR Hokkaido announced development of dual mode vehicle (DMV) running on both roads and rails and now in testing with expected service start in 3 years
30 JanuaryKawasaki Heavy Industries unveiled 12-car train set for Taiwan Shinkansen (345 km from Taipei to Kaohsiung) to open in October 2005 with total order for 360 cars divided between three manufacturers
Japan National Tourist Organization announced 19.5% year-on-year drop in overseas travel by Japanese to 13.297 million people due to impact of SARS fears; number of foreign visitors to Japan also fell by 0.2% to 5.231 million
2 FebruaryJapan Airlines System (JAL) commemorated 50th year of international flights with special campaigns, including charter flight to Hawaii
3 FebruarySingapore Airlines started non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles using Airbus A340-500 to cover approximately 14,000-km flight in 16 to 18.5 hours
5 FebruaryThousands of passengers evacuated from Town Hall subway station in central Sydney, Australia due to major gas leak
6 FebruaryBomb exploded on subway train near Paveletskaya Station in central Moscow, killing 39 people and injuring more than 200
10 FebruaryJR East announced FY2007 introduction of E954 shinkansen with operations speed of 360 km/h and E955 able to operate on both shinkansen and conventional tracks
Iranian Kish Airlines passenger plane (Fokker 50) crashed on approach to Sharjah Airport in United Arab Emirates, killing 43 people
14 FebruaryRoof of indoor pool at multipurpose sports facility in Moscow collapsed, killing at least 25 people
16 FebruaryJR East announced planned move in 2007 of Transportation Museum from current location in central Tokyo to Saitama City, north of Tokyo with renaming as The Railway Museum
18 FebruaryJAL named (from 1 June) Mr Isao Kaneko (current President of holding company) as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Board, and Mr Toshiyuki Shinmachi (current Vice President) as President.
Freight train carrying petroleum and chemicals exploded near Neyshabur in north-eastern Iran, killing at least 200 people and injuring more than 500
20 FebruaryJR West announced completion of full privatization with public sale of all share holdings (31.7%) on domestic and foreign stock markets in March 2004
26 FebruaryDiamond Princess completed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki Shipyard as world's largest cruise ship (290 m and 116,000 tonnes)
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and eight staff killed when small aircraft crashed near Stolac in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina
28 FebruarySingaporean-flagged tanker carrying industrial ethanol exploded and sank off Virginia, USA, killing two crew and leaving 19 missing
Photo: Development of Tokyo Station's Yaesu side
(JR East)
Photo: Artist's impression of central building at Yaesu
(JR East)


Mr Takashi Ota
Managing Director of Kinki Japan Tourist named President of Kinki Japan Tourist Travel Agency from 1 January 2004. Mr Ota joined Kinki Japan Tourist in 1966 after graduating in literature and science from Yokohama City University. He became General Personnel Manager in 1998, Director in 1999 and Managing Director in March 2003.

Mr Shin'ichi Nishikubo
Appointed President of Skymark Airlines. Joined Daido Steel in 1978 after graduating from Kobe University. Became President of MasterNet (currently Zero) in 1993 and Chairman in 2002. Current President Masayuki Unoue resigned post and quit board of directors

Mr Tsuneharu Hattori
Former Administrative Vice Minister for Transport and former President of Kansai International Airport died 3 January. Joined former Ministry of Transport (MOT) in 1955 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo. Held posts as Director General of Secretariat, Administrative Vice Minister of Transport, etc., before retiring from MOT in 1989

Mr Katsuo Haneda
President of JAL became President of JAL International on 18 February. Joined Japan Airlines after graduating in economics from Keio University in 1965, becoming Director in 1995

Mr Mitsuo Komatsubara
Chairman of JAL Capital became President of JAL Domestic on 18 February. Joined Tokyu Corporation after graduating in political science and economics from Waseda University in 1960 before joining Japan Air System in 1973, becoming Executive Director in 2001