JR East says newsletter included inappropriate comments on train accident

The East Japan Railway Company says expressions making light of an accident leading to injury or death were used in an in-house newsletter. The company says the letter was later withdrawn and the expressions were inappropriate.

JR East's Mito branch, north of Tokyo, says the newsletter was compiled at an office in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture. It says the letter includes an interview with a train driver who had been involved in such an accident. The branch says the letter was shared at the office on May 20 and sent to employees through an internal communication system.

The interview says the driver had "set the record for youngest train driver involved in an accident causing injury or death." The driver is asked for an honest response, to which the driver responds, "I messed up." The driver is also asked, "What do you think of the youngest record?" The driver replies, "I've made a record that leaves a mark in history."

The newsletter also includes an expression that means "laugh" and an emoji that appears to be a knife.

The Mito branch says the newsletter was intended to be a way for employees to share information on incidents they had been involved with, and that this was the first edition.

The branch says the letter was withdrawn three days later, after some employees said it was inappropriate. But its content has been spread on social media and through other methods.

Many people have posted critical comments on social media. One says, "I'm terrified that those involved in the letter have people's lives in their hands.

The JR East Mito office says it takes the incident seriously. It says it will provide employees with additional education and instructions on complying with laws and information security rules.