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The transport ministry said Monday it will establish later this month an investigative committee of outside experts to look into the recent breakdown of flight data processing systems.

The computer glitch occurred Saturday morning after the FDP systems underwent reprogramming at the ministry’s Tokyo Air Traffic Control Center in Saitama Prefecture earlier in the day. More than 200 flights were canceled and about 1,500 flights were delayed more than 30 minutes over the weekend.

“I have not yet heard a concrete explanation myself (about the cause of the incident),” Vice Transport Minister Toshiki Aoyama said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

He added, however, that the ministry has learned that the FDP systems, which consist of some 500 programs, did not get a thorough check when the ministry’s development reinforcement center checked them from Feb. 1 through Feb. 16, prior to Saturday’s reprogramming.

“We offer a sincere apology for wreaking havoc on so many people,” Aoyama said before bowing in front of reporters.

Aoyama went on to map out three measures to prevent a recurrence: keeping better control of the quality of programs through thorough test-runs, reviewing prior evaluation methods of reprogramming, and setting up a committee consisting of learned technical experts from outside the ministry later this month.

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