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Japanese rail firm apologises for train leaving 20 seconds early

TOKYO Trains in Japan are well-known for their punctuality.

But on Tuesday, a train on the Tsukuba Express line in Tokyo failed to stick to its timetable.

It left 20 seconds early, reported Japan Today, citing SoraNews24. The incident prompted the company to issue an official apology on its website later in the day. The Tsukuba Express line, run by the Tokyo-area Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company, connects Akihabara in Tokyo with Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture.

According to the report, a north-bound train leaves Minami Nagareyama Station at 9.44am on regular weekday mornings. But on that day, the train left at 9:43:40.

The company said in a statement that since Japanese trains are usually so punctual, some people plan their commutes so that they arrive at the platform just as the cars are pulling up.

"It stands to reason, then, that at least a few people would miss a train if it left 20 seconds earlier than usual."

The company said that even though the next train arrives in four minutes, adding four minutes to that leg of their commute might cause commuters to miss other transfers on the way to their destination.

The effect can snowball and they could end up late for work or school, the statement said.

"Even if it's not the sort of mistake that absolutely demands an apology, there's nothing wrong about taking a moment to say sorry for any problems that the early departure may have caused," the statement added.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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