• Jiji


West Japan Railway Co. is not planning to publicly display the train involved in a crash that killed 106 passengers in April 2005 for the time being.

Victims of the crash were mourned on Sunday, which marked 16 years since the accident.

Last year, the company announced a plan to build a facility to preserve all seven cars of the crashed train in the city of Suita, Osaka Prefecture, in around autumn 2024.

Some bereaved relatives are calling for the train to be shown to the public.

Earlier this month, however, JR West President Kazuaki Hasegawa said that displaying the train to the public is “difficult at the moment in light of various feelings (of bereaved families), so I think that some more time is needed.”

The accident occurred on JR West’s Fukuchiyama Line in the city of Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

After some other serious accidents, the remains of vehicles have been shown to the public to help keep the memories of the incidents alive.

After the May 1991 accident in which trains of Shigaraki Kohgen Railway Co. (SKR) and JR West crashed head-on in the town of Shigaraki, now the city of Koka, in Shiga Prefecture, SKR showed parts of the crashed SKR train at its Shigaraki Station in 1997, following calls from bereaved relatives.

“Allowing customers and others to see the parts of the crashed train prevents the accident from being forgotten and makes us continue to reflect on the accident,” an SKR official said. The collision killed 42 people and injured 628 others.

After the August 1985 crash of a Japan Airlines jet in a mountainous area of Gunma Prefecture, which claimed the lives of 520 people aboard, the airline started to show parts of the plane at its Safety Promotion Center at Haneda Airport in 2006.

A total of some 268,000 people visited the center as of March this year, according to JAL.

“This is a pioneering facility to show the adverse legacy,” a JAL official said. “The facility allows us to look back at and remember how the accident, which plunged people who lost their loved ones into the depths of sorrow, occurred and continue reflecting on the tragedy.”

Some train parts or other items related to incidents, while not put on public display, have been preserved and used for safety education for employees. This includes parts of a limited express train of East Japan Railway Co. that crashed on the Uetsu Main Line in Yamagata Prefecture in December 2005 and railroad ties and other items from a March 2000 incident in which a subway train on the Hibiya Line of the Teito Rapid Transit Authority, now Tokyo Metro Co., derailed and collided with an oncoming train.

A JR East official said that the remains of the crashed train are preserved for employee education, citing calls from bereaved relatives to avoid letting the memory of the accident fade away.

A Tokyo Metro official said that the items from the Hibiya Line accident are preserved so that the company will never repeat the same mistake.

The Uetsu Line accident killed five people and injured 33 others, while five people died and 64 others suffered injuries in the Hibiya Line accident.

Seiji Abe, professor at Kansai University, said that displaying trains or other vehicles involved in serious accidents “helps raise safety awareness of the entire society and is therefore desirable.”

But he also said this would be difficult if bereaved relatives oppose such moves.

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