The Kobe District Public Prosecutors Office on Wednesday indicted Mr. Masao Yamazaki, president of West Japan Railway Co., on a charge of professional negligence leading to death and injury in connection with the April 2005 train crash that killed 106 passengers plus the driver and injured 562 passengers. The indictment, a rare move on the part of public prosecutors, concludes a criminal investigation that lasted slightly more than four years.

In past train accidents, public prosecutors were cautious about indicting high-ranking officials of train companies and their targets were mainly drivers and conductors. Their decision this time to indict a train company president indicates a change in attitude on their part. It should compel train company executives to take a more serious approach to train safety.

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