75 employees of the Hokkaido Railway Co. will be meted out charges after it was proven that they fabricated track maintenance data and failed to fix track defects. The punishment, which includes dismissal of five employees, pay-cut of three months for the chairman and president, and dismissal of the managing director working as chief safety officer for the company, is set to be handed down on Wednesday or after JR Hokkaido has a chance to refute the charges.
The railway company has been at the center of several different derailment accidents, but last September’s freight train derailment led to the discovery of the company’s falsifying track maintenance data and failure to repair track defects. One of the track records fabricated was from the accident site. It was also found that a train driver hammered the automatic train stop system to cover up his error. An internal survey made by JR Hokkaido showed that 16 percent of 800 employees assigned in maintaining the train tracks were guilty of fabricating data. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has since issued an order to dismiss Managing Director Makoto Toyota, who is in-charge of safety, and is already considering filing charges against the employees who manipulated the data.
In line with the removal of Managing Director Toyota, Transport Minister Akihiro Ota maintained that President Makoto Nojima should remain to improve operations as this is the second time that the government has stepped in and decreed such. In 2011, the company played a part in another derailment and fire accident involving an express train.
[via Global Post]