Apology after Japanese train leaves 20 seconds early

Japan's trains are renowned for their punctuality. People say Japan's rail network is the envy of the world. Others say you can set your watch by a Japanese train's departure. Most rail companies apologize to passengers for delayed or cancelled trains. However, the operators of a Tokyo express train apologized for one of its trains leaving 20 seconds too early on Tuesday. The high-speed train pulled out of a station earlier than scheduled when staff failed to check the departure timetable. The company said it had not received any complaints from passengers.

The Tsukuba Express company said the train crew failed to accurately perform the departure operations. It made a statement that read it "deeply" apologized for the "severe inconvenience" caused to passengers, even though the next train was just four minutes later. Someone on Twitter wrote: "Tokyo train company's apology for 20-second-early departure is one of the best things about Japan." A UK commuter tweeted: "They apologize for being 20 seconds early, and yet you don't get an apology from any major UK train company until they're over 2 hours late."