KOBE – The families of the 107 people killed in a 2005 train derailment in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, observed the 12th anniversary of the disaster on Tuesday and mourned the victims of the accident apparently caused by inadequate safety measures.
West Japan Railway Co., also known as JR West, held the memorial ceremony in Amagasaki where attendees, including company President Tatsuo Kijima, observed a moment of silence at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment of the crash 12 years ago.
Earlier in the morning, Kijima and other JR officials laid flowers at the site of the derailment on a section of the JR Fukuchiyama Line between Tsukaguchi and Amagasaki stations.
“We have deprived you of very important things, which cannot be replaced by anything,” Kijima said in apology to victims and their families.
The memorial ceremony, held in a hall located 2 km from the accident site, had 918 people in attendance.
“I have felt really lonely for 12 years. I have felt a pain in my heart,” said Kayo Haraguchi, 57, who lost her husband.
A rush-hour commuter train derailed upon entering a curved section at a speed far exceeding its maximum permitted limit and crashed into a condominium on April 25, 2005, killing 106 passengers and the driver, and injuring 562 others.
The nine-story building, badly damaged in the crash, has undergone partial demolition since January 2016, though the section damaged in the accident has been preserved. The reconstruction project, which includes a monument, is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.
“I come here every year and hope that such an accident will never happen again,” said Misuzu Sugao, 68, who lost her 31-year-old son. “The appearance of the building is different from the previous one, but I look back on the accident in the same way as before.”
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