• Kyodo

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A total of 9.12 million people used shinkansen and other express trains operated by the Japan Railway group during this year’s Golden Week holiday season, marking a record 11 percent year-on-year fall, according to data released by six group member companies.

East Japan Railway Co. reported a 27 percent drop in passenger numbers, also the steepest drop on record since the group was established in 1987 through the breakup and privatization of Japanese National Railways.

An official at the Tokyo-based railway better known as JR East blamed the sharp decrease on the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, saying the disaster prompted many people to refrain from going out during the season from April 28 through Sunday.

The Tohoku Shinkansen Line, which resumed full services throughout its route from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Station on April 29 after disruptions resulting from the disaster, posted a 33 percent fall to 1.11 million passengers, JR East said.

The Tokaido Shinkansen Line of Central Japan Railway Co. ( JR Tokai) marked a 5 percent decline.

The JR group logged a 5 percent drop in passenger numbers during the Golden Week period in 1997.

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