Mishima Station incident

The Mishima Station incident (三島駅事故, Mishima eki jiko) was an incident that took place at Mishima Station in Mishima, Shizuoka, Japan on 27 December 1995, when a 17-year old male student fell to his death after getting caught in a car door of a departing Shinkansen train.[1]

Mishima Station incident
The site of the incident, pictured in September 2004
Date27 December 1995
LocationMishima, Shizuoka, Japan
Coordinates35°07′34.82″N 138°54′40.19″E / 35.1263389°N 138.9111639°E / 35.1263389; 138.9111639
LineTokaido Shinkansen
OperatorJR Central
CausePassenger negligence, Crew negligence, design fault

It was the first passenger fatal accident in the history of the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Summary edit

A 0 Series, the model of Shinkansen involved.

At 6:30pm local time, after using a public phone on the platform, 17-year old student Yusuke Kawarazaki attempted to board a westbound Kodama service when his finger got stuck in the door as it closed.[1][2] The Shinkansen train then left the station, dragging Kawarazaki with it. The student was dragged around 100 yards (91 m) before he fell to his death, suffering from a fatal head injury.

It was the first fatal incident on the Shinkansen since it began operation in 1964.

Overview edit

At the time of the incident, all passenger doors on Shinkansen trains were kept closed using an airtight seal. On this particular train, a 0 series, the seal would be activated the instant the door closed. The force of the airtight seal had been enough to trap the student's finger in the door mechanism.[3] In addition, a device which was tasked with detecting foreign objects in the door mechanism was only able to detect objects of a certain diameter. The diameter of Kawarazaki's finger was smaller than what the device was able to detect.[3]

Aftermath and trial edit

In 1997, JR West announced changes to the door structure of all Shinkansen trains running on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines. This included changes to mechanisms meant to keep the doors closed while the train is in motion. For the series of train involved, the speed in which the seal for the doors are activated was changed from zero to 30 kilometres per hour (19 mph).[4]

In March 2001, the bereaved family sued JR Central for negligence leading to the fatality.[5] At the trial, it was determined that the student lacked the responsibilities and awareness expected of those using the trains. At the same time, it was determined that the company had the ability (and responsibility) to ensure that the Shinkansen train was ready to depart, and thus prevent the accident. As a result, the Shizuoka District Court ruled that JR Central was 60% at fault while the victim was 40% at fault. As a result, JR Central was ordered to pay the family ¥48,460,000 (Around $320,000 USD, inflation adjusted).[6] Both sides appealed to the ruling. However, a settlement was reached at the Tokyo High Court later that year on 26 November, almost six years after the incident occurred.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "First Fatal 'Bullet Train' Accident Reported". Associated Press. 28 December 1995. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  2. ^ "1964年の開業以来、死亡事故はゼロ-…" [No Fatal Accidents Since Opening in 1964 ...]. nishinippon.co.jp (in Japanese). 16 June 2018. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b "失敗百選~三島駅で新幹線ドアに指をはさまれ、引きずられて死亡(1995)" [100 selections of failures-At Mishima station, a finger was caught in the Shinkansen door and dragged and died (1995)]. sydrose.com (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. ^ "東海道・山陽新幹線車両のドアの改善について" [About improvement of doors of Tokaido / Sanyo Shinkansen vehicles]. westjr.co.jp (in Japanese). 21 March 1997. Archived from the original on 3 June 1997. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  5. ^ "JR東海に賠償命令" [Order for compensation to JR Central]. The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). The Asahi Shimbun. 7 March 2001. p. 15 (evening edition).
  6. ^ "JR Tokai Ordered to Pay 48 M. Yen in Damages". JIJI Press America, Ltd. 7 March 2001. ProQuest 448708511. Retrieved 21 January 2022.