Despite having one of the world’s largest rail systems by passenger travel, Japanese trains are actually very punctual—so punctual that train companies issue apologies and delay certificates when their trains are even a little late. Station workers will apologize for two-minute delays and hand out delay certificates when the train is five minutes late.

Japan Trivia:Rail company distributes Delay Certificates
Japan Trivia:Rail company distributes Delay Certificates

The delay certificates are necessary because schools and employers do not tolerate tardiness. It is usually difficult to convince employers and teachers that the train was late (since they rarely are), so the train companies issue the certificates to be tendered as evidence.

Train companies call these certificates densha chien shoumeisho (“train delay certificate”). They are usually distributed by station workers at every station at which the late train stops. Some train companies also have downloadable digital versions of the certificates

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