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Southwest Japan station attendant oversleeps causing passengers to miss first train

This file photo shows the sign of Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) headquarters in Fukuoka. (Mainichi/Taiki Asakawa)

OITA -- An attendant on night duty at a train station in the southwestern Japan city of Beppu overslept, causing passengers to miss the first train on June 7, Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) has announced.

According to the Oita branch of JR Kyushu, the male attendant in his 20s at Kamegawa Station on the Nippo Line failed to wake up at the scheduled time, and the ticket gate shutters did not get opened before the first train of the day. The two-car first train, which starts from the station to Oita Station, departed at 5:48 a.m. without any passengers. JR Kyushu later checked security camera footage at the station, and at least nine passengers are thought to have missed the first train.

The attendant had been on night duty by himself since June 6 and went to bed at around 12:20 a.m. on June 7. He was scheduled to wake up about 30 minutes before the departure time of the first train.

The attendant reportedly preset an inflating device, which lifts up the upper body side of a bed to wake up the person, as well as two alarm clocks but fell back asleep. He got up at almost the same time as the first train departed and opened the shutters at 5:50 a.m.

A representative of JR Kyushu's Oita branch of apologized and said, "We will work on preventing a recurrence and thoroughly instruct employees."

(Japanese original by Tomohiro Tsujimoto, Oita Bureau)

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