Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 65 (topics)

August 2014–January 2015

1 August

EuroCity passenger expressed carrying about 250 people collided with freight train near Mannheim, Germany, overturning 2 carriages and injuring 35 people

1 August

Part Chinese-owned low-cost carrier airline Spring Airlines Japan started three international services out of New Tokyo International Airport at Narita, Japan

3 August

Magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Zhaotong City in Yunnan Province, China, killing at least 617 people and leaving another 112 missing

4 August

Overloaded ferry carrying more than 200 people across Padma River, near Dacca, Bangladesh, sank, leaving many people missing after about 100 people rescued

6 August

Hitachi Ltd. announced first placement of order from UK Network Rail with UK railway systems company
Hitachi Rail Europe for ETCS (Technical Specification for Interoperability) compliant on-board signaling
system to be installed in two diesel locomotives serving lines in Cumbria, UK

8 August

Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad announced full nationalization of Malaysian
Airlines following management crisis due to three successive half-year business results in red caused
by drop in passenger traffic following losses of two passenger aircraft

9 August

Tourist bus ran off road into valley in Tibet autonomous region of China following traffic accident with SUV and truck, killing at least 44 people

10 August

Small Antonov 140 plane belonging to Sepahan Airlines crashed on takeoff from Mehrabad International
Airport, Tehran, Iran, killing 39 or 48 people onboard and severely injuring 9 others

12 August

Japanese government announced decision to consign maintenance of Boeing B777-300 used by Emperor and Prime Minister for official overseas visits to ANA Holdings; two planes including spare plane to enter service from 2019 replacing current B747-400

13 August

Front three carriages of Swiss 8-car Rhaetian Railway tourist train derailed by landslide with one car sliding into valley, injuring 11 of 140 passengers, including 5 Japanese visitors

13 August

Small private plane carrying Brazilian presidential candidate and others crashed during bad weather
near Santos City, Brazil, killing everyone onboard

13 August

Currently restructuring Tosa Electric Railway and Kochi Prefectural transport board announced decision to create new third-sector transport business Tosaden Transport following business integration;
new company to be inaugurated on 1 October

15 August

New railway line (251 km) opened between Lhasa and Xigaze in Tibet autonomous region of China; world’s highest altitude railway (5072 m) linking Lhasa and Golmud in Qinghai Province, China opened in 2007

17 August

Freight train hauling wagons containing dangerous organic chemicals derailed and caught fire in headon collision with another Union Pacific freight train in Arkansas, killing two train crew; nearby local residents evacuated to prevent risk from chemicals

18 August

Light rail transit line linking Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and city opened as 7.5-km extension to existing Orange Line; operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and increasing total length of DART lines to about 145 km

19 August

JR East proposed Haneda Airport Access Design to
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport (MLIT) and Tourism Council for Transport Railway Working Group;
plan includes construction of new 5.7-km subway between Tokyo Freight Terminal and Airport as well as construction of three routes linking Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shin-Kiba stations using existing lines and short cuts at total cost of ¥320 billion and taking 10 years to complete; provisional station near airport with bus links to be used until 2020

25 August

Boeing announced order for 50 units of 737MAX8 and 30 units of next-generation 737-800 worth US$8.8 billion from BOC Aviation (Singapore) aviation lease company and subsidiary of Bank of China

26 August

JR Central applied to MLIT for approval of construction plan for new linear MAGLEV shinkansen between Shinagawa and Nagoya, targeting 2027 opening at fully self-financed construction cost of ¥5.5235 trillion

28 August

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced confirmed order for 15 units of Brazilian Embraer E170 (78 seats) and E190 (104 seats) with option of 12 more units; group engineering purchased for operation on domestic lines as replacement for 50-seat Canadian Bombardier CRJ200

30 August

Ukrainian freight plane crashed after takeoff into desert near Tamanrasset, south Algeria, killing all seven people on board

31 August

Tourist bus carrying 40 foreign visitors travelling to La Paz from popular Uyuni salt lake overturned on expressway in south Bolivia, killing 10 people and injuring more than 20 others


1 September

HIS and ANA Holdings subsidiary ANA Sales announced cooperative agreement targeting foreigners visiting Japan on business trips with plans to establish joint venture in November 2014

2 September

Hiroshima City announced decision on basic plan for redevelopment of plaza at south side of Hiroshima Station with elevated station for tram services to be moved to second floor of station building

2 September

Due to cost reductions, 22-storey New Scotland Yard headquarters of London Metropolitan Police in use since 1967 sold for £250 million (¥43.3 billion); staff to relocate to smaller building

3 September

British Virgin Atlantic Airlines announced withdrawal from Japanese route with last Narita to London service on 1 February 2015 following 25th anniversary of daily return flights in 2014; move follows business restructuring to strengthen joint business in transatlantic services with US Delta Airlines holding 49% of Virgin shares

4 September

Bus carrying wedding party of 50 people ran off road into flooded river valley in Kashmir, India, leaving 44 people missing and 6 rescued

6 September

Light aircraft crashed in Amazon jungle in south Colombia, killing all 10 people onboard

8 September

Panasonic announced test run of electric railcar powered by standard EVOLTA D-cell batteries to be held on 2 November on closed Kosaka Railway in Akita Prefecture, Japan, with 500-kg car made of specially-strengthened cardboard carrying 10 people

8 September

Boeing announced order from Irish low-cost carrier Ryan Air for 100 units of B737MAX200 with lengthened MAX8 body to carry up to 200 passengers; airline also took option to purchase further 100 units, making it largest Boeing operator in EU

10 September

JR Hokkaido announced stop of development of next-generation Class 285 express carriages to focus labour and financial resources on safety measures and preparations for new shinkansen opening; three prototypes now under construction to be used as inspection cars for conventional narrow-gauge lines and aging rolling stock to be upgraded with latest Class 216 carriages

12 September

Bus ran off mountain road in south Peru into 200-m deep ravine killing at least 19 people and injuring 12 others

15 September

UN World Tourism Organization announced that number of world tourist trips reached 517 million in first half of FY2014 or 4.6% increase over same period in FY2013; growth attributed to more tourists from NIEs with 6% increase in north and south America and 5% in Europe

16 September

New section of 2080-km high-speed rail line linking Shanghai and Kunming, China, opened between Nanchang and Changsha (342 km) running at design speed of 350 kph; 158.8-km section between Shanghai and Hangzhou opened in 2010

23 September

World’s largest 7th biennial railway exhibition Inno Trans opened for 4 days in Berlin, Germany, showcasing latest railway technologies and products

25 September

First Tourism Expo Japan uniting JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents) Expo and Japanese Sightseeing Promotion Association Travel Fair promoting tourism opened for 4 days at Tokyo Big Site in Edo Ward, Tokyo



Mr Genkei Kimoto died aged 94 on 12 September; after graduating in 1941 from Economics Faculty of Kyoto Teikyo University, joined Kyushu Electric Railway, which became Nishi-Nippon Railway in 1942, rising to position of President in 1981 before becoming Chairman in 1985 and Counselor in 1991

Mr Seiji Fukatsu died aged 81 on 18 September; after graduating in 1956 from Law Faculty of University of Tokyo, joined Japan Helicopter, which became All Nippon Airways, rising to position of President in 1993. Retired in 1997 over personnel issues in opposition to ex-President and Honorary Chairman Tokuji Wakasa

1 October

All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced start of acceptance of transport-related electronic money cards, such as Suica, for domestic in-flight purchases as first airline to accept such card payments

1 October

New third-sector entrant Tosaden Kotsu announced start of business centred on bus and tram transport in Kochi City following business merger of three Kochi Prefecture transport businesses: Tosa Electric Railway, Tosa Electric Dream Service, and Kochi Transport, and restart of third-sector business investment by prefecture and others

2 October

Mitsubishi Engineering announced opening of expanded Mihara Test Center (MTC) in Mihara Wadaoki Works (Hiroshima Prefecture) to start first domestic running tests of three-rail track systems supporting both standard- (1435 mm) and narrowgauge (1067 mm) trains as well as signalling, communications and operations; also aiming to improve global competitiveness through opening of other business

3 October

Singapore Airlines low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Scoot announced completion of Japan routes; merger of Scoot with Thai LCC Nok Air created new Thai carrier NokScoot planning to start services between New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) and Bangkok in 2015

6 October

Motorboat carrying 49 people to wedding ceremony on Bali, Indonesia, sank leaving 9 people drowned, 22 missing and 8 rescued

7 October

JR East announced name of new 10-car sleeper service with 17 suites for 34 passengers starting operation in 2017 as Transuite Shikijima as combination of French word TRAIN and English word SUITE

7 October

JR East announced November start of train covered in advertising livery promoting tourism to Malaysia and Thailand; same train used to advertise Taiwan tourism in 2012

10 October

Hitachi announced successful bid by Hitachi Rail Europe to supply 234 units of AT-200 commuter rail carriages (70 trainsets) and long-term service contract to UK rail company Abellio of Holland operating Scotland rail franchise services on Edinburgh to Glasgow electrified section

14 October

Tokyo Metro and Urban Renaissance announced construction of new station on Toranomon section of Hibiya Line between Kasumigaseki and Kamiyacho prior to start of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as first new subway station since Tameikesanno Station on Ginza Line opened in September 1997

15 October

Airbus announced successful bid to supply 250 units of A320neo to IndiGo, India’s largest domestic air carrier as largest ever Airbus order; also announced order for 70 units in A320 family for delivery to Chinese aviation parts group

16 October

Section of Tokaido main line in Shizuoka Prefecture between Yui and Kotsu closed by landslip caused by Typhoon No. 18 reopened; closed Fuji to Yui section reopened on 10 October

16 October

Arkansas Missouri Railroad autumn- leaves sightseeing train stopped by leaves on tracks struck by relief locomotive, injuring 39 passengers and 6 crew

17 October

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota approved JR Central Linear Shinkansen (285.6 km Shinagawa to Nagoya) construction plans targeting 2027 opening following construction start in spring 2015; expected construction cost of ¥5.5235 trillion to be borne entirely by JR Central

17 October

JR West announced new construction of Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum in Kyoto for specializing in dismantling of steam locomotives (SL) to ensure preservation of SL heritage; also explained restoration of D51-200 SL preserved at museum for return to occasional special main- line operations

18 October

Mitsubishi Heavy Engineering and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation announced successful test flight of first domestically produced MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) passenger jet; full testing of 70- to 100-seat small jet expected to start in second quarter of 2015 before commercial production of total received orders for 407 units (184 on option)

20 October

French-built Dassault Falcon business jet crashed into snowplough on takeoff from Vunokovo International Airport in outskirts of Moscow, Russia, killing all 4 people onboard including CEO of French Total S.A. oil and gas company Christophe de Margerie; snowplough operator believed under influence of alcohol

21 October

EU agreed policy to exclude 3 large Japanese rail operators JR East, JR West and JR Central from WTO procurement targets; all 3 companies already fully privatized and requested not to bid via Japanese government

21 October

Kansai International Airport started acceptance of ‘expression of interest’ documentation from private enterprises expressing desire to participate in sale of administration rights for Kansai and Osaka (Itami) international airports worth total of at least ¥2.2 trillion; bids to be decided in June 2015

27 October

School excursion bus struck head-on by oncoming truck in San Paolo, Brazil, before catching fire, killing 11 high-school students and injuring 24 others

28 October

Izumi Railway (26.8 km between Ohara and Kazusanakano in Chiba Prefecture) and group of railways (29.7 km) under administration of Taiwan Railways Board concluded sister railways agreement to strengthen tourism cooperation between each others’ lines

30 October

JR East announced 14 March 2015 start of timetable revision for Ueno/Tokyo lines; some Tohoku/Takasaki Line services departing/arriving from Ueno to become through services on Tokaido main line, while some Joban Line limited-express services to depart/arrive at Shinagawa

30 October

New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) announced 8 April 2015 opening of No. 3 passenger terminal newly constructed on north side of No. 2 passenger terminal to serve LCCs only

30 October

Small twin-propeller Beechcraft King Air 200 plane crashed into 2-storey building at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, USA, causing building fire and killing pilot and three people in building

31 October

Spaceship 2 spacecraft under development by Virgin Galactic subsidiary of Virgin Group for space tourism crashed during test flight over Mojave Desert in northern California, killing one of two test pilots and seriously injuring other; accident occurred soon after separation from White Knight 2 mother ship

3 November

Large bus overturned on 32.5-km Donghai Bridge near Shanghai, China, killing 6 people and injuring 32 others

6 November

Sanriku Railway in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, established Sanriku Railway Kit Dreams amateur baseball team to help support local revival following Great East Japan Earthquake; team composed mainly of railway staff and trackside residents under general manager Hisashi Iwakuma who played leading role in major leagues

7 November

Mitsui Bussan announced establishment of joint venture with partner Odebrecht TransPort S.A. managing and servicing rail, road, and air infrastructure as subsidiary of large Brazilian conglomerate as well as conclusion of contract in field of city transport systems; aiming to build Sào Paulo Metro Line 6 (15.3 km) opening in 2020

8 November

Large bus ran off road into ravine near Murcia, southeast Spain, killing 14 people and injuring 28 others

11 November

World’s largest aircraft lease company SMBC Aviation Capital (subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Lease, and Sumitomo Trading) announced purchase of 80 units of B737MAX8 from Boeing with delivery from 2018 to 2022

13 November

Hitachi Ltd. announced opening of Kasado Works in Kudamatsu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture taking lead in building first 12 units of 122 carriages ordered in 2012 by UK Department of Transport for Intercity Express Plan, with first test runs in first half of 2015; remaining 110 units to be built in Durham, UK

17 November

Japan Airlines Systems JALUX, Mitsubishi Trading and large Myanmarese SPA business group announced conclusion of 30-year management contract with Myanmar Civil Aviation Bureau to operate Mandalay International Airport; local company formed by three partners to manage and maintain airport, terminal buildings, runways, etc.

19 November

Hitachi Ltd. announced order from Sentosa Public Park Ltd. of Singapore via local affiliate Hitachi Asia Ltd. for radio communications system and 2-car train set for Sentosa Park Monorail opened in 2007 when Hitachi supplied 6 monorail cars, signalling and operations systems, and power transformers; new systems to support fully automated operation

19 November

Soujitz Corporation announced receipt of ¥50 billion order from Indian Freight Railways Public Corporation for electrification of 915 km of part of 1500-km DFC West freight line between Delhi and Mumbai in conjunction with Indian business partner Larsen & Toubro Ltd. with work to include construction of power substations, overhead catenary etc.; two companies also received contract for track work on 626 km of same line in 2013

27 November

JR Central announced 17 December 2014 start of work on linear central shinkansen between Shinagawa and Nagoya (286 km) with groundbreaking ceremonies at both Shinagawa and Nagoya stations

27 November

JR Kyushu announced replacement of diesel services between Wakamatsu and Orio on Chikuhosen Line by battery powered carriages from autumn 2016 with increase to 14 carriages in 7 train sets from spring 2017; first use of battery powered carriages by JR Kyushu

27 November

UK Department of Transport announced award of operation concession for East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh to business group composed of large bus and rail operator Stage Coach Group and Virgin Trains called International Railways; concession to last 8 years from March 2015 with 1 year optional extension and will operate Hitachi-built express trains

28 November

JR East announced first-ever public bidding for 18 diesel railcars for Hachinohe Line (Hachinohe to Kuji, 64.9 km) enabling possible use of foreign-built carriages

29 November

Third-sector operator Shigaraki Heights Railway (Shiga Prefecture) announced full reopening of 14.7-km line between Shigaraki and Kibukawa following temporary 14-month closure due to severe damage including washed-away bridges caused by typhoon 18 in September 2013

1 December

South Korean fishing vessel sank in Bering Strait with 7 of 60 crew onboard rescued, 12 confirmed drowned, and 41 missing

1 December

Boeing announced confirmed order for 100 units of B737MAX200 200-seat version of M737Max8 from Irish low-cost carrier Ryan Air with option on further 100 units

2 December

JR East announced participation in joint venture project called Hachinohe Biomass Power Generation established by Sumitomo Ringyo and Sumitomo Osaka Cement to start commercial operation in December 2017

2 December

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced group company Crystal Mover Services, Inc. (CMS) concluded renewal agreement with Washington International Airport Corporation to operate and maintain approx. 3.5-km long APM systems at Washington Dulles International Airport for 10-year period from December 2014 (CMS delivered APM systems in December 2009)

3 December

Light aircraft crashed northwest of Bogota, Colombia, killing all 10 people onboard

8 December

Small Phenom 100 jet built by Embraer of Brazil crashed into residential housing near Gaithersburg Airport, Maryland, USA, killing all 3 people onboard as well as 3 people on ground

9 December

Mitsui Trading announced plans to build coal-mining and port infrastructure, including freight train line, in Mozambique, Africa, in partnership with local subsidiary of large Brazilian investment group

10 December

IATA announced 2015 year-end profit forecast of $25 billion for world airlines or 26% increase over 2014 and expected best ever results due to drop in petroleum prices; passengers expected to total 3.53 billion or 7% year-on-year increase

11 December

Ferry carrying several hundred people overturned during squall in Lake Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving 232 people rescued and at least 129 people drowned

17 December

JR Central started construction of Shinagawa to Nagoya (286 km) section of new linear shinkansen with groundbreaking ceremonies at Shinagawa and Nagoya stations

22 December

Airbus delivered first unit of new A350XWB 900 Series to Qatar Airways; A350 900 Series positioned to compete with Boeing 787 and 777 models and having same basic airframe as Series 800 but extended length to form one of three models in Series 800, 900, and 1000 lineup

22 December

San’yo Railway (63.2 km of tracks between Nisshiro and San’yohimeji, and Shikama and San’yo Aboshi) announced sister railway agreement with Yilan Line (93.6 km) of Taiwan Railways Administration as part of tourism promotion campaign based on both operators having Kameyama Station on coastal railway lines

24 December

Akihiro Ota reappointed to post of Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in third Abe Cabinet following LDP win in December 14 general election

24 December

Transfer of 55.4-km section of Yamada Line between Miyako and Kamaishi closed by damage from 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake to third-sector San’riku Railway approved by prefecture and trackside villages with JR East to pay ¥3 billion in aid to assist line recovery; following transfer, length of united Kita-Rias Line and Minami-Rias Line to total 163 km

24 December

Following proposed March 2016 opening of Hokkaido Shinkansen, JR Hokkaido to transfer ownership of Esashi Line (37.8 km from Goryokaku to Kikonai) to third-sector operator to be called Donan Isaribi Railway; interim company to adopt new name from January 1

25 December

Sumitomo Trading and Nihon Sharyo Seizo announced additional order from Taiwan Railway Administration for 16 carriages (2 train sets) of TEMU2000 pendulum expresses worth total of ¥3.3 billion following delivery of 136 carriages (17 train sets) of same series in 2011 now operating on Changhua, Taipei, Taitung route in Taiwan

28 December

Air Asia Airbus A320-200 belonging to Malaysian low-cost carrier crashed into Java Sea off Kalimantan, Indonesia, killing all 162 people onboard

28 December

Italian ferry (26,904 tonnes) caught fire in Adriatic Sea off Corfu, Greece, and burned for some 16 hours, killing 13 of 478 people onboard

30 December

Two large Chinese rolling-stock makers CSR Corporation Ltd. and CNR Corporation Ltd. with world’s first and second position in annual sales announced merger to become even bigger than Bombardier (Canada), Alstom (France) and Siemens (Germany)

31 December

Crushing and trampling accident in crowds gathered on Bund in Shanghai, China, to celebrate New Year left 36 dead and 46 injured

2 January

Private plane crashed into coppice in Kentucky, USA, killing 4 of 5 people onboard with 7-year-old girl as sole survivor

5 January

Train collision in Mesquita, Brazil, left 147 passengers injured

5 January

Japan’s National Police Agency announced 2014 traffic fatalities of 4113 (decrease of 260 or 8.7% down year-on-year) for 14th consecutive annual drop; traffic accidents also decreased 8.7% year-on-year to 573,465 with 8.9% decrease in injuries to 709,989— both lowest figures for 10 consecutive years

6 January

Bus overturned in suburbs of Porto Alegre, Brazil, killing 6 passengers and injuring more than 20 others

7 January

Small plane carrying 13 skydivers crashed after engine problems near Lake Taupo, N. Island, New Zealand, after 6 instructors jumped safely in tandem pairs with 6 students along with pilot

9 January

Hitachi Ltd., announced additional order for 16 pendulum tilting TEMU1000 carriages (2 train sets) from Taiwan Railways Administration following delivery of 48 carriages (6 train sets) of same series in 2006 to 2007 now operating as Taroko Express on 443-km route between Douliu, Taipei, and Shoufeng

11 January

Fuel tanker truck collided head-on with overloaded bus in Karachi, Pakistan, before catching fire, killing at least 59 people onboard bus

12 January

Thick smoke in tunnels and trains at L’Enfant Plaza Station of Washington Metro killed 1 passenger and injured more than 80 others

13 January

Airbus announced 2014 orders (excluding cancellations) for 1456 units or year-on-year increase of 48 units, along with 2014 deliveries of 629 units (year-on-year increase of 3 units) compared to Boeing 6-January announcement of largest ever 2014 orders for 1432 units (77 increase) with world’s largest ever 2014 deliveries of 723 (75 unit increase); Airbus seen 2 consecutive years of increases on orders basis, while Boeing seen 3 consecutive years of increases on deliveries basis

14 January

Japanese government and opposition decided at Shinkansen Maintenance Committee to bring forward start of work for three shinkansen sections; Hokkaido Shinkansen Shin Hakodate Hokuto to Sapporo section to be brought forward from 2035 to 2030; Hokuriku Shinkansen Kanazawa to Tsuruga section to be brought forward from 2022; and Kyushu Shinkansen Takeoonsen to Nagasaki section to be brought forward as soon as possible from 2022

14 January

Bus travelling between prisons in Texas, USA, ran off elevated expressway onto train line before being hit by passenger train, killing 8 prisoners and 2 guards and injuring 5 others

15 January

Tugboat (30 m) under test in Yangtze River of Jiangsu Province, China, overturned and sunk, leaving 3 people rescued and 22 others dead

20 January

Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) announced 29.4% year-on-year increase in inbound tourism in 2014 to reach 13.4136 million people and highest ever figure, due to impact of cheap yen, expanded duty-free shopping, and relaxation of tourist visa regulations; breakdown of top three by nation as follows: 1. Taiwan, 2.829 million (+28%); 2. Korea, 2.755 million (+12.2%); 3. China, 2.409 million (+83.3%); outbound tourism by Japanese dropped 3.3% to 16.903 million

21 January

Japan Public Relations (PR) awarded FY2014 Person of The Year Prize to JR Kyushu Chairman Koji Karaike for contributions to public good through regional activities related to new tourism and sleeper trains

22 January

JR East announced start of two daily return bus services between Tatsuta and Haranomachi (approx. 46 km) on Joban Line in Fukushima Prefecture from 31 January as substitute for rail services suspended by impact of nuclear accident at TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

26 January

JR East announced new display at its Railway Museum in Omiya of EF55-1 electric express passenger locomotive built in 1936 with world first streamlined body design and one of three fastest locomotives; EF55-1 retired in 1964 after serving Tokaido and Takasaki main lines before 1986 restoration as special event locomotive and preservation since 2009 at Takasaki Rolling Stock Centre

27 January

UN Agency World Tourism Authority announced record world tourism figures for 2014 of 1.138 billion people (4.7% year-on-year increase) due to expanding tourism demand in NIEs such as China; also forecasting further 3% to 4% increase in 2015 due to lower oil prices

28 January

Japan’s number 3 domestic airline Skymark applied to Tokyo District Court for restructuring under Civil Rehabilitation Law following total losses of ¥71 billion, excluding penalties of about ¥83 billion for cancelling contracts on six units of Airbus A380; company blames failure on severe business competition as well as increased lease costs due to massive impact of falling value of Japanese yen

29 January

JR East announced restart of operations from 30 May on Takagimachi to Rikuzen’ono section of Senseki Line in Miyagi Prefecture closed due to damage caused by 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake; restart marks resumption of services over entire line after 4 years and 2 months