But even a small lapse in punctuality can be disruptive, in part because, as Casey Baseel reports for Sora News 24, some people in Japan synchronize their phones or watches to the time shown in train stations, so they'll be sure to make their train.
A rail company in Japan has issued a formal apology after one of their trains departed a little too early than expected.
The statement said the company's management wanted to "deeply apologise for the severe inconvenience" to any customers affected by the error, even though it did not receive any complaints.
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Shamed rail company apologises for leaving 20 seconds early
The 20-second gaffe may not sound like a big deal, but the Japanese train system is world-famous for its precision and efficiency.
On the bright side, anyone who missed the 9:44 a.m. Tsukuba Express train because of the 20-second premature departure would have had to wait just four minutes for the next northbound train, according to the line's timetable. However, on November 14, the train instead left at 9:43:40, 20 seconds earlier than it's supposed to.
At first, I sort of agreed with him.
So yeah, if someone at Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company got reamed out by his boss for a 20-second screw-up, I feel for him, since I don't think it's worth getting that bent out of shape about.