Shinkansen stabbing attack leads to new ban aboard trains

What you need to know before jumping on a train in Japan. Source: Shutterstock.

ON JUNE 9, 2018, a man in his early 20s went on a rampage aboard a Nozomi Shinkansen bound for Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo, killing a 38-year-old man and injuring two women in their 20s.

The horrific stabbing attack led to Japan’s transport ministry calling on train operators to step up security for its Shinkansen.

According to transport ministry officials, passengers of all trains in Japan will be banned from carrying unpacked knives onto trains. The new security measures will take effect from next April onwards.

In the event of a violation, train operators will be able to force passengers out of their trains, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said.

Knives, hatchets, saws, and scissors are expected to be added to the list of prohibited items.

Two members of staff from the Shinkansen in Japan on the journey from Tokyo to Osaka. Source: Shutterstock.

Other items that have already been banned include explosives or flammable materials, not long after a 71-year-old man doused himself in oil and set himself ablaze in an act of suicide on a Shinkansen. The incident claimed the life of a woman passenger and resulted in smoke inhalation injuries in 26 other passengers.

Meanwhile, Shinkansen operators have increased the number of security guards and patrols in trains, as well as the number of interior surveillance cameras. Crew and office staff are also being trained to respond to emergency situations.

However, train operators are still not required to check all baggage and hence, the effectiveness of the new steps remains unclear.