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Accident on Chuo line, Shinjuku station. 2008/1/23 14:36
Tokyo 23-ku
My family and I were recently on holidays in Japan. We were travelling on the Chuo line from Tokyo station to Shinjuku on Monday the 14th January and the train arrived abruptly at Shinjuku station. Then the doors would not open. Crowds began to gather on the next platform before accident teams arrived and put up a tarpaulin on our carriage. Whatever or whoever was underneath! Afterward, ambualnce teams wheeled someone out the station.
Was the person or persons OK? I looked at all the media the next few days and nothing was reported. Does this happen all the time in Tokyo or were we just very unlucky??
by Karl  

... 2008/1/23 17:23
The Chuo Line is Japan's most suicide prone train line. But I don't know what happened on that particular morning.
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/23 17:55
Would be interested to know why more suicides occurred on Chuo LIne. Could someone explain, thanks!
by tju rate this post as useful

Chuo Line 2008/1/23 18:10

Would be interested to know why more suicides occurred on Chuo LIne. Could someone explain, thanks!

You may hear some odd theories such as the one that it is because so many of the line's station names end in "-ji" (temple), but it is basically because the line's catchment area is one of the most densely populated in Tokyo. This is combined with the fact that the trains quite fast plus the fact that the line is mostly at ground level with lots of level crossings.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

don't kill yourselves 2008/1/23 23:21
On Jan 14 around 10:30am, a 23 year old male was hit at the edge of the platform by a Chuo Line Rapid train from Tokyo bound for Takao, and died soon. Address and occupation unidentified. Family identified the man. Shijuku Police Deparment assumes it is suicide. The Line stopped for 30 minutes, and 22000 users, including those of other lines, were affected by the delay. The following is the original Japanese version of the news.

If you look at the map, you can see that the Chuo Line is one of the very few overground train lines that run straight with no curves for miles. It also has faster trains that skip a lot of stations. So theoretically, it is one of the few lines where suicide is more likely to succeed.
by Uco, used to live on the Chuo Line rate this post as useful

The Chuo Line 2008/1/24 07:52
I live on the Chuo Line and train suicides here or elsewhere are rarely reported because they are so common. I have read that an average of almost 3 people a day (1,000 per year) in Japan commit suicide by throwing themselves under a train- that's why it's not usually in the newspapers.

I have been lucky enough not to ever have been in a train that was jumped in front of, but I have seen a couple of tarpaulin covered stretchers being taken out of stations.

Actually much of the Chuo Line has been elevated and there are no level crossings that I know of between Shinjuku and Mitaka in any case- if there were people would almost never get to cross as the trains are so frequent. Around where I live the tracks are briefly ground level but are crossed by bridges or have underpasses

I have noticed that at one end of the tracks at my station there is a large mirror on the wall opposite the platform, and someone told me this is sometimes a deterrent to people who want to jump- theoretically you are more likely to change your mind if you see yourself at the last minute. does anyone know if that's actually why it's been put there? It's not in a place where people are going to use it to check their makeup etc.
by Sira rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/24 08:01
According to my knowledge, mirrors against suicides were first installed in the subways of Vienna with some success, it seems. I assume that JR East based their installment of mirrors on the Vienna example and hopes to reduce the suicide problems at some of the most suicide prone stations.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Anti-suicide mirror 2008/1/24 08:04
Sira wrote:

I have noticed that at one end of the tracks at my station there is a large mirror on the wall opposite the platform, and someone told me this is sometimes a deterrent to people who want to jump- theoretically you are more likely to change your mind if you see yourself at the last minute. does anyone know if that's actually why it's been put there?

Ogikubo station? The large mirror there is indeed intended as a suicide deterrent. This was reported in the news a few years back, but I don't think it has been extended to use at other stations.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/24 08:09
From my understanding it also affects the family of the person who committed the suicide. Monetary wise that is, I understand the railway company can sue or charge the family a fee for the disruption in service the train company received.

by John rate this post as useful

Sadness, and hope. 2008/1/24 09:26
I find it so sad that suicide can become so common that it is no longer "news".

It is such a shame that many people can no longer find a reason to continue their lives.

I noticed at many underground stations that the platforms are fully enclosed, and the doors only open when the train stops.

This is a fantastic innovation and I would love to see more countries adopt this technology!
by pixelkitty rate this post as useful

..platform screen doors.. 2008/1/24 11:02
Thanks you for your wonderful information. Will pay more attention to observe the setup of Chuo line on my next visit to Tokyo.
Mirror as suicide deterrent, this is something new to me as well. How does it work?
I noticed in some of the subway stations in Tokyo ( underground ), platform screen doors are erected to prevent accidents and suicide. In Hong Kong and Singapore, platform screen doors are used extensively in almost all the subway stations.
by tju rate this post as useful

just a note 2008/1/24 11:10
I had thought that suicide was hardly reported, but turns out that there always is a short notice on one of the Japanese internet news pages (like the one I posted previously). You can find it easily by searching keywords like the date and place.

When on a train, you usually just get a simple announcement that "There has been a jinshin-jiko (accident involving a human)" which can be interpreted as either negligence or suicide (sometimes it's drunk or dizzy people who happened to be hit). Btw, I think that a lot of train suicides are done by jumping off a platform, so it doesn't really matter if there is no crossing. All you need to know is whether the right train is coming in or not.

My brother-in-law who started commuting on the Chuo Line always used to wonder why people are so calm inside the train when it stops due to a jinshin-jiko. But I never thought they were. I think everyone is just thinking to themselves, "Let this be a minor injury of some dizzy person and not someone who deliberately killed him/herself!" but you wouldn't want to talk about it.

I've seen a covered body at another train line station. Part time station staffs were panicing. The police were so serious it was scary. I know people can't think straight when they commit suicide, but really, seeing a suicidal scene is one of the worst things that can happen to you and it haunts you forever. So please don't create it.
by Uco rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/24 11:36
One time at Osaka Station waiting for the Osaka Loop Line, this guy walks up and gets really close to the far edge of the platform, first I thought he was a photographer going to set up a camera like us rail fan people do, but he didn't have a camera, all he did was get really really close to the edge and I was thinking to myself, "I hope I don't have to run over and grab this guy". But all he did was stand there then when the train pulled up he just smiled, he was there for a while just looking and staring at the trains, so I guess he was just some really happy railfan, but he was really close to the edge.
by John rate this post as useful

The mirror 2008/1/24 16:20
So Ogikubo is the only station with an anti-suicide mirror! I don't remember seeing any others actually but didn't realise Ogikubo was the only one. The mirror is right at one end in an area behind the stairs down to the platform where hardly anyone stands, so might have been a common place to jump from. I wonder if the mirror has had any effect at all.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Thanks. 2008/1/24 17:53
Thank you for all your replies. It was a very sombre moment on what was an otherwise fantastic holiday in Japan.
by Karl rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/27 11:13
I've been one of the Chuo Line users for more than two decades, and wonder how many times I've suffered from train delays because of accidents with casualties and mechanical troubles, e.g. being stranded on the train in-between stations for an hour, late for work etc.

There have been 30 to 50 death or injury accidents on the Chuo Line annually at least in the last 10 years as far as I know. Source in Japanese:

Seems there have been three accidents with casualities since the beginning of this month, including the OP's case.

Around a decade ago when suicide accidents occured on a daily basis, e.g. three suicide accidents in a single day, on top of the fact that JR East settled a mirror at Ogikubo to deter people from committing suicides, which has already been stated above, then station masters are said to have been to a shrine to undergo a purification ceremony, none of which seem to have been working well at all considering the recent accident numbers...

The operator, JR East seems to have no intention to place screen doors at each station. The drivers need to be very patient and must be accustomed to being involved in death accidents. That's true to the passengers as well.
by optimistk rate this post as useful

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