Japan Railways in a statement brought deep apologies for one of its high-speed trains leaving a station 25 seconds early. “The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable,” the company said about the May 11 incident involving a Shinkansen bullet train.
At Notogawa Station in the central Shiga Prefecture, a train mistakenly pulled away from the platform almost a half-minute ahead of schedule – at 7:11:35 a.m. instead of 7:12.
“The trouble started when the conductor of the train […] mistakenly thought it was supposed to leave at 7:11, and so closed the doors of the 12-car train at that time,” Japan Today described the inexcusable incident.
Realizing his mistake almost immediately, the conductor looked down the platform, didn’t notice anyone standing there, and so decided to just go ahead and leave 25 seconds early rather than reopen the doors and have to shut them again (a process that might have ended up making the train depart later than 7:12 exactly).
“25 seconds may not seem like anything to complain about, but this happened on a Friday morning, when most passengers are people on their way to the office or school,” Sora News 24 further explained
Although such irregularities are certainly rare in Japan, it was at least the second such incident in about six months.