OTSU, Shiga Pref. – Relatives, friends and railway officials solemnly marked the 10th anniversary Monday of a fatal train collision in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, that killed 42 people and injured more than 600 others.
Attendees planted “kousa” dogwood trees and offered flowers at an accident site memorial. The white flowers of the dogwood tree symbolize the hope that the spirits of the dead will rest in peace, relatives said.
The 1991 accident, which left 42 people, including five employees of SKR, a Shigaraki railway, dead and a further 614 injured, occurred when an SKR train collided head-on with a West Japan Railway Co. train traveling on the same track.
In March 2000, the Otsu District Court found three SKR employees, including the conductor, guilty of ignoring a red signal and failing to maintain the signal system under SKR control. No JR officials were indicted.
In March 1999, however, the Osaka District Court ruled that JR West was also responsible for the incident. The court ordered both carriers to jointly pay 500 million yen in compensation to 23 relatives of nine of the 42 victims.
JR West has appealed the ruling.
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