Last week the Fuji TV variety show “Real Scope” covered Japanese railroads. Most of the celebrities in the studio were densha otaku (train geeks), so it was one big love-in for railways and the people who operate them. However, the entire two-hour program focused on only two systems: the super express Shinkansen and Tokyo’s subways.

There are many private rail companies in Japan, so why only those two? Money, apparently. JR Tokai, usually referred to as Central Japan Railway in English, which runs the main Tokaido Shinkansen, boasts the highest profits of all rail transportation companies in Japan, and Tokyo Metro, one of the two subway systems in the capital, is fourth on the list.

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