A rail company in Japan has apologised after one of its trains departed 20 seconds early.
Management on the Tsukuba Express line between Tokyo and the city of Tsukuba say they “sincerely apologise for the inconvenience” caused.
In a statement, the company said the train had been scheduled to leave at 9:44:40 local time but left at 9:44:20.
Many social media users reacted to the company’s apology with surprise.
“The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation,” it said.
It added that no customers had complained about the early departure from Minami Nagareyama Station, which is just north of Tokyo.
The Tsukuba Express line takes passengers from Akihabara in eastern Tokyo to Tsukuba in about 45 minutes.
It is rare for trains in Japan, which has one of the world’s most reliable railways, to depart at a different time to the one scheduled.
The country’s Tokaido line, which runs from Tokyo to the city of Kobe, is by far the world’s busiest and carries nearly 150 million passengers a year.
Impressed railway users worldwide tweeted the story to their local train operators – particularly in Britain, where rail services are often delayed.
"Apology after Japanese train departs 20 seconds early".
Read; weep; read; laugh. @networkrail @SW_Railway @SouthernRailUK
End of Twitter post by @alstewitn
Don't think this will be an apology @SW_Railway or any other train company in the UK will ever have to make!https://t.co/TgZfyVFayL
End of Twitter post by @WillForster
We’re not in NY’s #PennStation anymore. #Japan train crew spoken to after leaving 20 seconds early. https://t.co/SaZbkjDEQo
End of Twitter post by @CurtisSChin
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