• Kyodo

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The number of people using shinkansen and conventional train services operated by Japan Railway companies plunged 68% during the year-end and New Year's period compared with a year earlier, to 4,879,000, marking the lowest level since comparable data was made available in 1991, six JR companies said Wednesday.

The margin of decline was the biggest on record as well, with the companies citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of some services due to heavy snow in the Northeast as reasons.

In the 12-day period through Tuesday, the number of people riding the Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train tumbled 72%, the Tokaido Shinkansen was down 68% and the Kyushu Shinkansen fell 60%, the operators said.

According to East Japan Railway Co., one of the six operators, the number of passengers for services excluding the shinkansen and other long-distance carriers at JR Tokyo Station fell 53% to 2.1 million.

The number of passengers at JR Maihama Station, the closest station to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parks, in Chiba Prefecture, was down 56% to 312,000.

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