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Japan Railways Allegedly Keeps Train Station Running for Just One Passenger

Last Friday, China’s CCTV News posted a heart-warming story on Facebook about how Japanese railway authorities are keeping a train station in a remote village open for the sake of only one passenger – a high school student.

“The Kyu-Shirataki-Shirataki train station is located in Japan’s north island of Hokkaido,” the post read. “Three years ago, due to its remote location and ending of freight trains, the Japan Railway (JR) decided to close it down. However, they changed their minds after they discovered a young girl used the station to go to high school every day.”

According to the report, the only two trains that stop at the station now are just for this girl, with a “unique timetable depending on when the girl needs to go to school and back.” Japan Railway apparently intends to keep the station open until March this year, when she will finally graduate.

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The touching tale naturally gathered thousands of likes, going viral on Japanese social media in just one.The story was shared several times over, and eventually covered by other media outlets as well. Lots of people left comments commending the empathy displayed by Japan Railway in supporting the girl’s education.

“Why should I not want to die for a country like this when the government is ready to go an extra mile just for me,” one person commented on CCTV’s post. “This is the meaning of good governance penetrating right to the grassroot level. Every citizen matters. No child left behind!”

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Others took the opportunity to lament about the dwindling population in rural Japan, resulting in the slow extinction of railway services in these areas.

But it looks like people might be getting emotional over nothing. According to a report in the Taiwan edition of Apple Daily, the tale is most likely a romanticized exaggeration. The girl actually boards the train from an entirely different station every morning, along with 10 other schoolmates. In the evening, she has a choice of three trains to get back home.

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While it’s true that the Kami-Shirataki station is all set to close in March, the report suggests that it may actually have nothing to do with the student’s graduation date. It isn’t clear how the story originated, but it could have been a result of nostalgia for Japan’s fast disappearing rural villages.

Photos: CCTV

Via Straits Times

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