Tokyo, April 17: Japan’s well-known bullet train service experienced a rare event that interfered with its history of keeping time when a snake was discovered on one of the trains, causing a 17-minute delay. A passenger spotted a 40-cm-long snake on Tuesday evening while travelling from Nagoya to Tokyo.

The kind of snake and how it got into the train are not known, as, according to a spokesperson from Central Japan Railway Company, there were no reported injuries or distress among the passengers. Though pets such as dogs, cats, and even pigeons are allowed in Shinkansen trains, snakes are specifically banned. Japan: Train Services Resume After 1,500 Passengers Trapped for Two Hours on Tokaido Line Near Tokyo.

"It's difficult to imagine wild snakes somehow climbing onto the train at one of the stations. We have rules against bringing snakes into the Shinkansen," the spokesman told AFP. "But we don't check passengers' baggage," he said.

There is speculation regarding how the snake found its way in, but the company admits it does not check passenger luggage. That led to changing this particular train, which was initially Osaka bound, causing the short hold-up period. Japan Population Crisis: Island Nation Sees Population Decline as Births and Marriages Hit Record Low.

This follows increased security measures following a fatal stabbing aboard another Shinkansen in 2018, something unthinkable for safety-conscious Japan. Furthermore, tight security prevailed during last year’s G7 meetings and also for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

The Shinkansen network, operational since 1964, boasts an impeccable safety record with no accidents causing passenger fatalities or injuries. These trains, capable of speeds up to 285 kilometres per hour, have an impressive average delay of just 0.2 minutes.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 17, 2024 05:31 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website