Driver of bullet train left his post temporarily

A driver of a Shinkansen bullet train traveling at a speed of about 150 kilometers per hour temporarily left his post in the driver's room to go to the toilet.

Central Japan Railway Company says the 36-year-old driver of Hikari 633, an outbound Tokaido Shinkansen, temporarily vacated the driver's room shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday. The train was traveling in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, carrying about 160 passengers.

The company says the driver had a stomachache and called the conductor to the driver's room. The driver had the conductor confirm the safety of the train's front and left for about three minutes to go to the toilet in a passenger car.

The company says the conductor did not have a driver's license. It says it is considering punishing the driver.

The company's in-house rules stipulate that when bullet train drivers feel ill while driving, they must contact the transport command center. If conductors have a driver's license, they can take over, but if they do not, the drivers can only leave their post after stopping the train.