Police have gone to the Hokkaido Railway Co. headquarters and searched the building as transport regulators filed a criminal case against the company for falsification of data, including track inspection and maintenance.
The Japan Transport Safety Board and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism charged the railway company of obstructing regulatory inspections and falsifying reports. When a freight train derailed at Onuma Station on the Hakodate Main Line in Sept. 19, 2013, initial investigations showed that maintenance crew altered the data so that it will reflect the track gauge at 25 millimeters wider than the usual at the place of the accident instead of the actual deviation of 39 millimeters. It was also found out that a day prior to the ministry safety inspection, employees of JR Hokkaido adjusted some data so that it would seem that repair work of the tracks had been done properly. Ministry and safety board authorities believe that higher-ranking officials of the railway company are privy to the falsifications and may have been the ones to encourage their employees to do so.
JR Hokkaido is accused of violating the Railway Business Act filed by the transport ministry and of violating the Act for Establishment of the Safety Board filed by the transport safety board. If proven guilty, the fine for violating the railway business law is up to 1 million yen (approx. US$9,800), and for the law of establishment of the safety board up to 300,000 yen ($3,000).
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