I still remember very well when the biggest train accident happened in Japan in 2005. I realized that no matter how careful and high-tech the people are, accidents are inevitable. But of course, it can be minimized with extreme precautionary measures. It is always advantageous to err on the safe side. The train crash made big headlines during the time. The article that follows gives an update of judicial charges. It would not be easy to erase in memory the Amagasaki rail crash in Japan.
Three JR West ex-presidents to be charged over crash
The Japan Times, 27 Mar 2010
KOBE (Kyodo) Three former presidents of West Japan Railway Co. will be charged with negligence in connection with a 2005 train derailment that killed 107 people, an independent judicial panel ruled Friday.
The decision, the second, by the Kobe No. 1 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution paves the way for Masataka Ide, 74, Shojiro Nanya, 68, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 65, to be charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury.
Ide served as adviser, Nanya as chairman and Kakiuchi as president of JR West at the time the Fukuchiyama Line express train, exceeding the speed limit, jumped the tracks on a curve and slammed into a high-rise condominium complex, claiming the lives of 106 passengers and the driver and leaving 562 other passengers injured.
Under the revised inquest of prosecution law that came into force last May, indictments will be automatic if an inquest panel decides twice that the accused should be charged. A court-appointed lawyer will act as prosecutor and file criminal charges against the three.
The document of indictment against the trio will be filed with the Kobe District Court before April 30, when the five-year statute of limitations on the case expires.
The inquest body reached the decision after relatives of the dead complained about prosecutors' decision not to indict the three.
In Friday's decision, the inquest panel said the three former JR West executives were aware of the potential for a derailment at the sharp curve, if a train was traveling too fast, and they should have ensured that an automatic train stop system was in place.
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