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    Japanese railway company apologises for train leaving 25 seconds too early

    A Japanese rail company has apologised for “any inconvenience” caused to customers after a train left the station 25 seconds early.
    Japan has one of the most punctual railway services in the world, and so it was deemed an incident worthy of a public press release, apology and an internal investigation when the 7.12am train at Notogawa Station left at 7.11am and 35 seconds.
    West Japan Railways (known as JR-West) did point out that the train, destined for Nishi-Akashi Station in Hyogo prefecture, arrived at its next stop after Notogawa precisely at “the prescribed time”.
    But a spokesperson nonetheless described the incident as “truly inexcusable”, after several customers were unable to board the train and one complained to a station attendant, who referred the matter up to JR-West headquarters.
    It comes after a similar incident in autumn last year, when a train from Tokyo to the eastern city of Tsukuba departed 20 seconds early, prompting the operator of the Tsukuba Express to issue a public apology.
    No customers had actually complained in that particular incident, but the apology was widely shared on social media and compared to the less-than-satisfactory performance of Western rail companies.
    JR-West said in its press release that it had investigated Friday’s incident and found that the conductor had “misunderstood” the departure time and signalled too early. The company said it would be providing training to prevent similar events from happening again.

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