National / Crime & Legal

Elderly man disrupts Japanese bullet train service with 10-km walk on tracks

Kyodo

A 77-year-old man was arrested Friday night after allegedly trespassing on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line and disrupting bullet train services by walking on the tracks, police and the operator of the railway said.

Katsuichi Sakurai, a farmer from the town of Tateshina, Nagano Prefecture, was found crouching inside a tunnel at around 11:30 p.m., more than three hours after alighting at Sakudaira Station in the prefecture, they said Saturday.

He is believed to have walked about 10 km from the station.

The police arrested Sakurai for breaking the shinkansen safety law by entering the tracks and said he admitted to the allegation. His words, however, sometimes didn’t make sense and he apparently has difficulty communicating, they added.

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) stopped trains on the line twice between Takasaki and Nagano stations while the police and station workers searched for the man. More than 9,000 passengers were affected by the delay, JR East said.

The line debuted in March 2015, directly linking Tokyo with the Hokuriku region on the Sea of Japan coast via Nagano.

Also on Friday, another mishap occurred on the Tokaido Shinkansen line when a large billboard above the ticket vending machines at Toyohashi Station in Aichi Prefecture collapsed and hit a man who was buying a ticket, Central Japan Railway Co. said.

The man in his 40s involved in the incident, which occurred at around 7 p.m., was not hurt, JR Central said.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5