Japan: Two Pins

Japan's disaster toll last week stood at 450 in the Kyushu mine explosion, and 162 in the three-train wreck near Yokohama. As far as anyone could determine, both tragedies resulted from faulty cotter pins, only an inch or two long.

At the Mikawa mine on southern Kyushu island, a cotter pin apparently fell out of a coupling on a string of coal cars halted on a slight incline. One coal car rolled back down into the mine. Gathering speed, it flew off the track on a curve in the tunnel and struck the mine wall, showering the fatal sparks that...

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