Fourteen injured after Japan driverless train goes wrong way

The incident on the Kanazawa Seaside Line in Yokohama is the first to cause to injuries since driverless trains were rolled out 30 years ago. The line has been shut down and it is uncertain when services will resume.
The incident on the Kanazawa Seaside Line in Yokohama is the first to cause to injuries since driverless trains were rolled out 30 years ago. The line has been shut down and it is uncertain when services will resume.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Fourteen passengers were injured after an automated train in suburban Tokyo went in the wrong direction and crashed into a buffer stop, Japanese police said on Sunday (June 2).

The driverless five-car train crashed on Saturday evening, injuring 14 passengers, a police spokesman in Kanagawa prefecture south of Tokyo told AFP.

Some of the injuries appeared to be serious but not life-threatening, local media reported.

The train hit the buffer stop at Shin-Sugita station after travelling in the wrong direction for about 20m, Mr Akihiko Mikami, president of the train operator, said in a midnight press conference.

The station is a terminal of the self-driving Kanazawa Seaside Line in the port city of Yokohama.

In safety-conscious Japan, the incident is the first to cause injuries since driverless trains were first rolled out 30 years ago, Mr Mikami said, adding the operator has shut down the line and is uncertain when services will be resumed.

Compared to self-driving cars that have recently taken the road in several countries on a test basis, automated trains have a relatively long history in Japan and other countries.

Among accidents that made headlines are a collision involving an autonomous Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian and a fatal crash that involved electric car maker Tesla's "Autopilot" feature, both of which occurred last year in the United States.