NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Japanese Trains Timely But Grabby

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"For Japanese boys, the train driver sits alongside footballer, doctor and policeman as a dream job," according to a September Agence France-Presse item, and consequently, the system for metro Tokyo (covering 35 million people) runs with the "precision of a finely crafted Swiss watch," where delays, even for as long as a minute, seldom occur. (When they do, operators repeatedly apologize and hand out "notes from home" to commuters to present to their bosses to excuse the lateness.) Among the system's drawbacks is the still-irksome groping of women on packed rush-hour trains, when operators routinely shove as many as 300 riders into cars designed for 150.

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