Japan's transport ministry has instructed a railway operator to look into an apparent failure to follow procedures after a fatal accident partially halted services on a bullet train line for several hours.
At around 2 PM on Thursday, a major dent was detected on the nose cone of a "Nozomi 176" bullet train. A body part was later found on the tracks of the Sanyo Shinkansen line in Fukuoka Prefecture. The Tokyo-bound train had begun its journey in Hakata, western Japan.
JR West says the train driver heard an abnormal noise, but failed to report the incident.
The transport ministry instructed JR West on Friday to investigate whether the driver reacted properly and why no report was filed.
The transport minister, Keiichi Ishii, says he has ordered the company to conduct a thorough investigation.
JR West revised its operating procedures following the discovery of a potentially dangerous crack in the undercarriage of a Shinkansen last December.
Drivers are now required to immediately stop trains when safety cannot be ascertained. They also have to report any incidents.