The apology came despite no customers complaining about the early departure
A Japanese train company has an issued an apology after one of its services departed 20 seconds early.
The early departure happened on the Tsukuba Express, which travels between the city of Tsukuba - around an hour south of Tokyo - and Akihabara, a district on the eastern side of the Japanese capital.
A train arrived at Minami Nagareyama Station - about 25 minutes from Tokyo - at 9:43:40 local time, ahead of a scheduled departure a minute later.
However, it ultimately departed earlier than planned at 9:44:20.
Crew are said to have 'not checked the departure time sufficiently'.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company 'sincerely apologised' for any convenience, saying: "Although there was no difference from the station timetable, the departure occurred about 20 seconds earlier than scheduled.
"Please note that there were no customer complaints on this matter."
The company says it has spoken to the train crew in a bid to prevent any reoccurrence.
There are regular services between Tsukaba and Tokyo, with the rapid service departing up to twice an hour.
Japanese train services are famed for their punctuality, with significant delays relatively uncommon.