Kuangxiang Railway Accident
The railway accident Kuangxiang ( Chinese 沪杭铁路列车相撞事故 , Jap. 上海列車事故 , Shanghai Ressha Jiko , "railway accident in Shanghai") was a head-on collision between two passenger trains on March 24, 1988 at the station of Kuangxiang ( Chinese 匡巷站 , Pinyin Kuāngxiàng Zhàn ), a suburb of Shanghai . At least 29 people died and 99 were injured. Many Japanese students were among the victims. The accident led Japanese families to file damages against the Chinese State Railways .
During this time, the demand for rail transport in China increased rapidly, which is why the rail infrastructure was quickly upgraded. In the course of these retrofits, there had already been railway accidents in advance . Because of this, after the Qiewu railway accident of January 24, 1988, in which 88 people died, the Railway Minister Ding Guangen ( 丁关根 , Dīng Guāngēn , 1929-2012) resigned by resolution of the National People's Congress of March 12, 1988 . In addition, at that time the railway did not yet have a train control system that would trigger an emergency brake when crossing a signal indicating “stop” .
The number 311 train came from Shanghai and headed for Hangzhou . A large group of students from the Middle and High Schools of Art in Kōchi , Japan traveled on the train . It consisted of 179 students accompanied by their teachers, a doctor and tour guides of the travel company Nihon Kōtsūsha ( 日本 交通 公社 , today: "JTB Corporation"), a total of 193 people. The tour group crossed over to Osaka Port in the evening and flew from Osaka-Itami Airport to Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport on the Chinese mainland the following day . On the same day, they continued their journey from Shanghai Railway Station to Suzhou for sightseeing . On the day of the accident, the tour group boarded express train No. 311 at Suzhou station at 1:20 p.m. local time, which was supposed to take them to Nanjing . In the terminal station Shanghai West he changed the direction of travel, for which the engine off and was docked back at the previous end of the train, so the train could leave after Nanxiang.
In the opposite direction, the express train No. 208 drove from Changsha to Shanghai.
Train No. 311 then continued towards Hangzhou. In Kuangxiang station he ran over the exit signal showing "Halt" and at 3:20 pm collided head-on with the oncoming train from Changsha while still at the station exit .
At least 29 people died in the accident and at least 99 were injured. A significant number of those who died or were injured belonged to the Japanese tour group: 27 students and one teacher, Tetsuo Kawazoe, a kendo master and two-time winner of the All-Japanese Kendō Championships ( 全 日本 剣 道 選手 権 権 ), from the Japanese tour group died directly at the scene of the accident. A student died two days later from his injuries. No figures were published on the Chinese accident victims. The Japanese survivors of the accident traveled from Shanghai on a charter flight back to Kochi Airport on March 26th . Another day later, the bodies of the victims were also brought back to Kōchi on a charter flight.
Initially, negotiations between Japan and China on compensation were planned for March 1989. Since the price levels in China and Japan differed greatly at the time, there were concerns on the Chinese side that the amount of the compensation payments to the Japanese survivors could be much higher than to the Chinese survivors. On the occasion of a visit to China by Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita in August 1988, Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng stated that he was trying to understand the different views on compensation in China and Japan, but that compensation at the Japanese level was not possible.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry initially viewed the accident as a civil law problem that existed between China and the bereaved and refused to provide direct support due to feared political and economic entanglements. Since the trip was carried out by a travel company, the surviving dependents only received compensation from the travel agent's overseas travel insurance.
On the Japanese side, the statement by Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng was initially viewed as interference by the Chinese government in a civil matter. The Japanese Minister of Transport at the time, Shintaro Ishihara , emphasized that, according to the survivors' lawyers, China wanted to settle the matter under the pretended reservations. This will worsen the image of China in Japan. He also demanded that the Chinese government pay compensation from the profits it had made from the sale of Japanese real estate in the former Manchukuo .
In this initial situation, a first negotiation between China and Japan about the amount of compensation took place, in which Japan demanded 50 million yen, but China insisted on the equivalent of 1.1 million yen. The lowering of the compensation payment to 21 million yen was answered by China with a counter offer of 2.2 million yen. On February 26, 1989, the parties agreed to compensation. It is said to have been between 40 and 55 million yen - without any official announcement.
The survivors of the deceased students also received compensation of 40 million yen from the tour operator's insurance. The school sent a notice to the bereaved on December 27, 1988 that they were not legally responsible for the accident and paid eight million yen in compensation, which included two million yen as a cash gift for participating in the accident. In 1990 a memorial plaque was put up on the school premises for the victims of the accident, but some bereaved relatives refused to give their names. In March 2009, 21 years after the accident, the school gave the final report to the bereaved.
- Frl: Shanghai train crash leaves 26 dead . In: New Straits Times v. March 26, 1988, p. 8.
- NN: 27 Japanese students died in crash In: The Straits Times v. March 26, 1988, p. 4.
- When China Southwest Airlines flight SZ 4146 crashed on January 18, 1988 while approaching Chongqing-Jiangbei airport , which killed three Japanese, China offered 2.2 million yen as compensation.
- Biography of Ding Guangen . (in English)
- 88 dead in an overturned train in 1988 - Resignation of the railway minister Ding Guangen ( memento of the original dated November 11, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Report on Hóngwǎng ( 红网 ; rednet.com) from May 5, 2008. (In Chinese).
- Frl: Shanghai train crash .
- Frl: Shanghai train crash .
- NN: 27 Japanese students .
- 上海 列車 事故 . JiJi.com, accessed on January 29, 2015 (Japanese, with an image of the scene of the accident).
- 高 知 学 芸 高 で 慰 霊 式 上海 列車 事故 か ら 25 年 . 日本 経 済 新聞 , March 24, 2013, accessed January 29, 2015 (Japanese).