Japan marks 19 years since train derailment that killed 107

Japan has commemorated a deadly train crash that killed 107 people in the western prefecture of Hyogo 19 years ago.

The accident, which also injured 562 people, took place in 2005 when a commuter train on the Fukuchiyama Line derailed on a curve and crashed into an apartment building in Amagasaki City.

On Thursday, a rapid train slowed down as it neared the site at around 9:18 a.m., the time of the accident. Mourners along the tracks observed a moment of silence.

Bereaved families, people injured in the accident, and officials of West Japan Railway Company, which operates the line, attended a memorial ceremony at a facility near the site.

JR West President Hasegawa Kazuaki said the accident took precious lives that were irreplaceable.

He added that he reflects on the seriousness of the incident that changed the lives of many people with renewed remorse. He pledged that every executive and employee of the firm will make continuous efforts for railway safety.

JR West now faces the challenge of keeping the memory and lessons of the accident alive since nearly 70 percent of its employees joined after the accident.