Tokyo fire stops bullet trains, holidaymakers stranded
TOKYO (AFP) - A fire near a central Tokyo station threw parts of Japan's bullet train system into chaos on Friday, as tens of thousands of passengers tried to return home from New Year holidays.
The early morning fire sent plumes of black smoke over Yurakucho station - gateway to the nearby luxury Ginza shopping area, where department stores were preparing for a rush to the New Year sales.
No casualties were reported but the blaze at commercial buildings, next to railway tracks near the station, forced the suspension of all bullet trains departing from the capital to the western commercial hubs of Nagoya and Osaka, a key section of the nationwide network, according to Central Japan Railway Company.
Bullet trains departing Osaka to Tokyo were also brought to a halt because the capital could not handle incoming services.