• Kyodo

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The Japanese government said Friday the country is ready to consider helping Taiwan if requested following a deadly train accident on the island that resulted in dozens of casualties.

“We express our sympathies to those who have died and offer heartfelt condolences to the people who were involved in the accident,” top government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said during a news conference.

“If there is a request from the Taiwan side regarding support, we want to consider possible assistance,” he said.

The express train that derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan was manufactured by Hitachi Ltd. and started operations in May 2007 as Taiwan’s first tilting rail car, the major Japanese conglomerate said.

Under its push for infrastructure exports, Hitachi has delivered 260 rail cars, including those for express and bullet services, to Taiwan since 1960, including 64 tilting cars since 2006.

Fire authorities in Taiwan said the accident that occurred in Hualien County left 48 people dead and 66 others injured.

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