National

Shinkansen operator JR Tokai holds drill involving knife attacker

Kyodo

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) on Wednesday conducted its first drill involving a knife-wielding attacker on a bullet train following a deadly rampage on a shinkansen train in June.

Based on the scenario that a knife-wielding man is in a train car, members of the crew armed with shields approached the perpetrator from both the front and rear of the car, and security officials subdued him with a two-pronged weapon commonly used by police.

The drill was carried out at a stockyard in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture.

This month JR Tokai began installing shields and sprays on bullet train cars operating on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and is expected to complete the installation by the end of this year.

In the wake of the June attack, the operator has been beefing up security measures by bolstering patrols and introducing a new smartphone group chat system for crew members to swiftly share information.

Mamoru Tanaka, the head of JR Tokai’s shinkansen railway business, said, “We want to make sure we put priority on passengers’ safety under any circumstances.”

But JR Tokai and other shinkansen operators have shied away from introducing body or baggage inspections for shinkansen passengers for fear of sacrificing convenience.

Many bullet train services in Japan, including the Tokaido Shinkansen Line that connects Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, are competing with airline services.

In early June, a man went on a random attack with a cleaver on a crowded shinkansen bullet train bound for Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo, killing a man and injuring two women.