Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 54 (topics)

May–September 2009
Topics May–September 2009

7 May Kawasaki Heavy industries received joint order with Chinese rolling stock maker CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd. from Singapore Land Transport Authority for 132 subway carriages (22 per trainset) with Kawasaki Heavy Industries providing overall project management, design and main equipment and CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock managing build; KHI has delivered 522 subway cars since 1986
9 May Light aircraft crashed in Gardnerville, Nevada, USA, killing all 5 people onboard
9 May Helicopter crashed in Siberia, Russia, killing all 4 people onboard, including governor of Irkutsk region
11 May Outside port engine of taxiing JAL B747-400 ingested 100-kg baggage cart at Los Angeles Airport, suspending flight for damage inspection
15 May World Travel & Tourism Council announced $2.2 billion expected loss for world tourism industry due to impact of new H1N1 influenza virus; smaller than $15.1 billion loss caused by SARS but serious loss for countries with heavy dependence on tourism dollars
17 May Elevated bridge collapsed while under demolition in Zhuzhou City, Hunan Province, China, leaving 9 people dead and 10 injured when 22 vehicles including bus crushed by falling structure
20 May Narita Airport Corporation reported start of use of extended runway B (extended to 2500 meters) from 22 October to Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
23 May Ferry carrying about 60 people capsized off Mindoro, Philippines, leaving 12 people dead
24 May Privately-owned light aircraft crashed in NE Brazil killing all 14 people onboard


JR Kyushu Managing Director Koji Karaike appointed JR Kyushu President from June 2009. Joined JNR in 1977 after graduating from Faculty of Law at Kyoto University and held various senior management posts at JR Kyushu before present promotion. Current President Susumu Ishihara to become Chairman with representative rights Panasonic Vice-President Shin’ichiro Fukushima appointed President of Kansai International Airport. Joined Matsushita Electric (now Panasonic) in 1971 after graduating from Faculty of Law at Kyoto University and held various senior management posts before present appointment. Current President Atsushi Murayama and Chairman Hajime Miyamoto to retire. Satoshi Iwamura, Vice-Minister of previous Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport appointed new Chairman

1 June Air France Airbus A330-200 en route from Brazil to Paris crashed into Atlantic Ocean due to unknown causes, killing all 228 people onboard
4 June Fujiyama Shizuoka Airport finally opened after 3-month delay caused by need to shorten runway by 300 m due to high trees at one end
5 June Highway bus crashed and caught fire near Chengdu, China, killing 27 people and injuring 74 others after passenger committed suicide by immolation onboard
8 June International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced increase in forecast losses by its members for 2009 to $9 billion due to effects of deteriorating world economy, while revising 2008 losses upwards from $8.5 billion to $10.4 billion
12 June Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced plans to expand international services from Narita and Haneda airports from 2010, creating economic ripple effect worth ¥980.4 billion through increased inbound tourism and consumption
18 June JR Central announced forecast cost of building maglev linear shinkansen line from Tokyo to Nagoya through southern Alps in central Japan at ¥5.1 trillion, increasing by ¥640 billion to take more northerly route via Inadani in Nagano Prefecture
20 June Helicopter crashed in French Alps, killing 7 people Onboard
22 June Rear-end collision between two subway trains on Red Line in Washington DC, USA, killed 9 people including driver and injured 76 others
22 June   German airline Lufthansa announced purchase of British Midlands Airlines (BMI) by increasing investment stake from 30% to 50%
23 June   Boeing announced further fourth delay in test flight of B787 Dreamliner due to need to strengthen fuselage; 56 airlines placed first orders for 865 units of fuel efficient plane but long delays from expected deliveries in summer 2007 forcing airlines such as ANA (50 units) and JAL (35 units) to revise transport plans
25 June Third-sector operator Osaka Soto-Kanjo Railway Co., Ltd. notified Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of 7-year delay from 2012 to 2019 in plans to open 11.1-km section between Shin-Osaka and Hanaten stations as part of 20.3-km Osaka East Line between Shin-Osaka and Kyuhoji stations due to route change caused by delays in land purchases; investors include Osaka Municipal Government, JR West, etc., with latter company to manage rail operations
26 June Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, submitted necessary documents to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for start of full operations at Mt Fuji Shizuoka Airport using shortened runway
29 June Collision between passenger trains leading to derailment and overturning in Chenzhou Station Yard, Hunan Province, China, killed 3 people and injured 63 others
29 June Explosion and fire after freight train composed of 14 LNG tanker wagons derailed near Viareggio Station in Central Italy killed at least 15 people and left some 30 others injured
29 June JR Central President Yoshiyuki Kasai recommended introduction of shinkansen technology for US transport needs to President Obama in Washington, explaining that new N700 rolling stock reaches top speed of 330 km/h
30 June Airbus A310 belonging to Yemenia Airways crashed into sea near Comoros Islands in Indian Ocean leaving 14- year-old girl as sole survivor out of 152 people onboard
30 June Overloaded old bridge collapsed in Tieli City, Heilongjiang Province, China, tipping 8 vehicles into river and drowning 4 people

1 July Japanese government announced liberalized rules for issuing individual tourist visas to Chinese citizens living in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou with annual incomes of ¥3.5 million to expand inbound Chinese tourism from 1 million in 2008 to 6 million by 2020
9 July Seoul District Public Prosecutor’s Office announced discovery of 8000 fake ¥5000 prepaid cards for use on private railways and subways in Kansai, West Japan, with possible involvement of Japanese yakuza gangster groups
9 July Light truck drove off road into river in Guizhou Province, China, killing seven people and injuring one other
10 July JR West announced promotion of Vice-President Takayuki Sasaki to post of President from 31 August following announcement of resignation of President Masao Yamazaki due to indictment over major derailment accident in 2005 on JR West Fukuchiyama Line; Yamazaki to remain company director
10 July Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced closure of Teshikagacho Airport in Hokkaido on 23 September due to low passenger numbers, marking first closure of airport managed jointly by central and regional governments
11 July Overloaded small boat overturned in southern part of Republic of Haiti, leaving at least 5 dead and many others missing
11 July Flooding in Chongqing City, SW China, left 7 of 35 hikers dead, 16 injured and 12 missing
12 July Collapse of elevated section of Delhi Metro extension under construction left 5 workers dead and 15 injured
14 July Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced 25-October start of charter flights between Beijing and Haneda airports with 4 return services each day
15 July Tupolev 154 belonging to Iran Caspian Airways crashed in NW Iran, killing all 168 people onboard
15 July Bridge girder collapse on expressway in Tianjin, China, killed 6 people and injured 4 others when 5 vehicles fell off bridge
15 July EU announced relaxation of 2-year ban on four Indonesian airlines carrying passengers in EU region
17 July Bridge collapse in Veracruz State, SE Mexico, left 3 people missing after 4 vehicles fell into river
18 July Collision between streetcars in San Francisco, USA, left driver and 44 passengers injured to varying degrees
21 July JR Central published separate budget forecasts for three proposed Maglev routes between Tokyo and Nagoya with southern Alps route coming in at lowest cost and highest demand
23 July New airline Fuji Dream Airways (FDA) commenced services from Shizuoka Airport opened in June using small Embraer 170 jet offering two daily return services to Komatsu (Ishikawa Prefecture) and one daily return each to Kumamoto and Kagoshima
24 July Iran Aria Illyushin 62 crashed on landing at Mashhad in NE Iran, killing 17 people and injuring 21 others out of 153 passengers onboard
24 July JR Central announced outline plans for museum to open in 2011 with displays of 36 pieces of rolling stock including Maglev linear motor car holding world speed record of 581 km/h and 300X test car holding Japan speed record of 443 km/h for wheels on steel rails
27 July Overloaded boat overturned and sank near Turks and Caicos Islands in Caribbean Sea, leaving 15 people dead and 67 missing out of about 200 onboard
29 July Diesel train struck rocks on tracks in Guanxi Semi- Autonomous region of S China, causing locomotive and first two carriages to overturn and derailing third and fourth carriages, leaving at least 4 people dead and injuring more than 50 others


JR West announced promotion of Vice-President Takayuki Sasaki to post of President from 31 August. Joined old JNR in 1970 after graduating in economics from Hitotsubashi University, becoming JR West Director in 1995, Board Auditor in 2000 and President of JR West Daily Service Net in 2002, returning to JR West as Vice-President in 2007

Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLITT) Chief Scientist Hiroaki Taniguchi appointed MLITT Vice-Minister on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Construction after graduating in engineering from University of Tokyo in 1972
MLITT Waterways Agency Director Ken’yu Komura appointed MLITT Chief Scientist on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Construction after graduating in engineering from University of Tokyo in 1974

MLITT General Policy Bureau Director Sei ’ i chi Okura appointed MLITT Transport Assistant Vice-Minister on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Transport after graduating in economics from University of Tokyo in 1975, holding positions as Railway Bureau Assistant Director and Director, etc. MLITT Railway Bureau Director Takeshi Kitamura appointed Minister’s Chief Cabinet Secretary on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Transport after graduating in law from University of Kyoto in 1976, holding positions as Minister’s Secretariat General Assistant Minister, etc.

MLITT Automobile Bureau Director Masaru Honda appointed Railway Bureau Director on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Transport after graduating in law from University of Tokyo in 1976, holding positions as MLITT Maritime Bureau Assistant Director, etc.

MLITT Transport Safety Commission Secretariat Deputy Director General Hideo Osuga appointed Secretariat Director on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Transport after graduating in economics from University of Tokyo in 1978, holding positions as MLITT Higher Marine Accidents Inquiry Agency Head Deputy Director General, etc.

MLITT Japan Coast Guard Vice-Director Hisayasu Suzuki appointed Coast Guard Director on 24 July. Joined old Ministry of Transport after graduating in law from University of Tokyo in 1975, holding positions as MLITT Minister’s Secretariat General Assistant Vice-Minister, etc.

4 August Bangkok Airways ATR72 crashed on landing at Samui Island airport, Thailand, after sliding off runaway and running into buildings, killing pilots and injuring 42 passengers onboard
5 August Flames from port engine of Airbus A320 at Paris-Orly Airport, France, forced evacuation of plane, causing slight injuries to 8 people
5 August Ferry capsized off Tonga, leaving 53 people rescued, 2 dead and 93 missing
8 August Helicopter carrying tourists and small plane collided over Hudson River, New York, USA, killing 9 people in helicopter and plane
11 August Twin-engine plane crashed on takeoff from Port Moresby Airport, Papua New Guinea, killing all 13 people onboard
11 August Magnitude 6 earthquake in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, caused 40-m section of Tomei Expressway to collapse leaving carriageway closed until repairs completed 5 days later
15 August Typhoon strike on S Taiwan caused massive flooding, landslips and mudslides, leaving more than 500 people dead and damaging part of popular tourist Alishan Forestry Railway
15 August Fire in tent at wedding ceremony in Kuwait, left 41 women and children dead and 76 injured
16 August Two Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter planes collided in mid-air while practicing for air show killing 1 pilot
18 August Mitsubishi Electric announced plans to increase production of electric motors and controllers for rolling stock by opening new line at MELMEX plant of Mexican subsidiary from March 2010
18 August Collision between Siberian oil tanker and British container ship caused tanker to catch fire, leaving 9 Chinese crew missing
21 August Japan Airlines and Japan Post announced plans to integrate airfreight business from April 2010 by merger between JAL airfreight business and Japan Post airfreight subsidiary NCA as part of business rationalization
22 August JR Kyushu announced debut of new Series 800 shinkansen trainset (6 cars) over full length of Kyushu Shinkansen from spring 2011 with unique interior design using gold leaf and special fabrics
23 August Small, single-engine plane made emergency landing on tracks of Santa Barbara high-speed line in California, USA, hitting three cars of train and slightly injuring one person
26 August Antonov 12 cargo plane crashed outside Brazzaville, DR Congo, killing 6 people
26 August Small ferry sank near Bali Island, Indonesia, leaving 9 people dead and 3 missing
27 August Express train struck maintenance car on railway line in west Turkey, killing 4 people and injuring 17
28 August EU announced approval of Lufthansa takeover of Austrian Airlines with Lufthansa acquisition of 41.56% of AA shares at OEIAG in December 2008
31 August First direct scheduled flights since 1949 restarted between China and Taiwan
31 August Kansai International Airport Authority announced large reduction in landing fees to encourage more services by international airlines with 20% cut for 18 months from end of October 2009, making KIA more competitive in face of low landing charges at nearby international airports at Inchon in Korea and Shanghai in China


Retired President of Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. (Kintetsu Corporation from 2003) Yoshinori Ueyama died aged 94 on 25 August. Joined forerunner of today’s Maruha Nichiro Holdings in 1940 after graduating in law from Kyoto University and moved to Kintetsu in 1945, becoming President in 1981, Chairman in 1987, and Consultant Director in 1997; held post of Chairman of Association of Japanese Private Railways for 2 years from 1987

5 September Overloaded sightseeing boat sank in Lake Ohrid, SW Macedonia, drowning 15 Bulgarian tourists
5 September Two light aircraft crashed on same day in Oklahoma and Florida, USA, killing total of 7 people
6 September Large (7268 tonnes) ferry carrying 968 passengers sank off Zamboanga, Philippines, drowning 9 people and leaving 2 missing
7 September JR East started operating (until 4 December) one trainset in original 1950s brown livery to celebrate 100th October anniversary of name change of Tokyo’s Yamanote Line (colour changed using brown film sponsored by chocolate confectioner)
9 September Dubai (UAE) started operation of first unmanned automatic metro in Middle East with opening of 52.1-km ARL (Red Line) between Dubai International Airport and city centre, built by four Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and one Turkish Company
9 September Boeing 737 belonging to Aero Mexico on domestic flight to Mexico City hijacked by 5 suspects arrested immediately after safe release of all passengers and crew
10 September JAL and ANA announced start of services from 25 October between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Beijing, China, with one JAL daily return service and three ANA return services in code sharing arrangement with Air China International
11 September Mountain rescue Bell 412P helicopter crashed on Mt Okuhotaka (3190 m) in Japan’s northern Alps, killing all three crew members onboard
13 September JR East’s Railway Museum in Saitama Prefecture took delivery of Series 0 shinkansen carriage from JR West for public display from 21 October after restoration to livery for original 1964 Tokaido Shinkansen services
14 September Fokker 100 jet belonging to Contact Air crash-landed with gear up at Stuttgart Airport without serious injury to any of 73 passengers and crew onboard
15 September IATA forecast air industry losses of $11.1 billion for FY2009 due to falling passenger demand and rising fuel costs (FY2008 losses totalled $16.8 billion)
16 September Japan’s Hatoyama Cabinet took office following win by Minshuto Party in 30 August general election with appointment of Seiji Maehara as new Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
28 September 162-km Dali-Lijiang Railway opened in Yunnan Province, China between Dali and Lijiang as works progress on completing 139-km Lijiang-Shangrila Railway to reach Tibet
29 September Typhoon #16 struck Luzon Island, Philippines, bringing torrential rain and flooding to Manila, leaving at least 240 people dead and 37 missing
29 September Richter Magnitude 8.0 submarine earthquake near Samoa caused tsunami tidal wave, leaving widespread devastation and at least 169 people dead
30 September Operator of station kiosks, Keikyu Station Commerce Co., and world’s largest operator of convenience stores Seven Eleven Japan announced franchise deal with about 80 Keikyu kiosks becoming Seven Eleven franchises from mid-November
30 September Richter Magnitude 7.6 submarine earthquake near Sumatra, Indonesia, caused massive damage to Padang and nearby regions, leaving at least 3000 dead and many others injured


Seiji Maehara appointed Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transpor t and Tourism in Hatoyama Cabinet on 16 September 2009. After graduating in law from Kyoto University, held position as preparatory school teacher and member of Kyoto Prefectural Assembly, elected to House of Representatives in 1993. Re-elected five times and held position as Minshuto Party President. Enjoys hobby photographing steam locomotives Sumio Mabuchi appointed Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. After graduating in engineering from Yokohama National University in 1982, joined construction and stationary companies before first election to House of Representatives in 2003 and subsequent re-election three times Kiyomi Tsujimoto appointed Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. After graduating in education from Waseda University in 1987, established international Peaceboat group before first election to House of Representatives in 1996 and subsequent reelection four times