• Kyodo

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The president of West Japan Railway Co. apologized to shareholders Wednesday for improper access to a report on a 2005 train derailment in Hyogo Prefecture and the indictment of former top executives over the deadly accident.

Takayuki Sasaki said at the firm’s annual shareholders’ meeting he regrets the “deep mistrust” the carrier caused by improperly obtaining a yet-to-be published report from a governmental accident investigation panel.

“I apologize for giving everyone a sense of deep mistrust with a serious problem in our compliance rules,” Sasaki said.

The leak of the Transport Safety Board report, released in June 2007, was revealed last September.

The shareholders’ meeting, attended by about 1,300 people, was JR West’s first since the indictment of four of its former presidents.

Last July, prosecutors indicted Masao Yamazaki for professional negligence over the accident in Amagasaki on April 25, 2005, that killed 106 passengers and the driver while injuring 562 others.

Following a decision in March by a panel of citizens that the three should be indicted — contrary to an earlier decision by prosecutors not to indict him — four court-appointed lawyers filed charges against Masataka Ide, Shojiro Nanya and Takeshi Kakiuchi under the prosecution inquest system.

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