In rare move, investigation into fatal train crash translated into English


An English-language version of portions of an investigation report on the deadly 2005 train crash in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, has been released.

It is believed to be the first-ever English translation of an investigation report on a railroad accident in Japan. Aircraft and ship accident reports have already been translated into English.

An official of the Japan Transport Safety Board said the translation was made in the hope that the information will be useful in developing safety measures in other countries.

The report was compiled in June 2007 by the Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission, which has since been replaced by the Transport Safety Board.

The April 25, 2005, crash on West Japan Railway Co.’s Fukuchiyama Line during the morning rush hour left 106 passengers and the driver dead, and another 562 passengers injured.

Of the report’s seven chapters, five were translated into English, including those explaining the outline and cause of the accident as well as efforts for improvement that needed to be made by the government and JR West.

The translation is available on the safety board’s website.

The investigation found that the accident was caused by excessive speed on a tight curve.

The board plans to translate the remaining two chapters, which include more precise details. It is undecided whether other train accident reports will also be translated into English, the official said.