Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Japan's railways are famously punctual

A Japanese train driver is suing his employer after he was docked 56 yen ($0.49; £0.36) in wages for causing a brief delay to the country's famously punctual rail system.

Train company JR West fined the man after a work mix-up in June 2020 caused a one-minute delay to operations.

It argued that no labour had been performed during the stoppage.

The employee is seeking 2.2 million yen ($19,407; £14,347) in damages for mental anguish caused by the ordeal.

According to the the Japanese news site, Soranews24, the unnamed man was scheduled to pilot an empty train to Okayama station in the south of the country, but arrived at the wrong platform while waiting to take over from the previous driver.

By the time he realised his mistake and had rushed to the correct platform, the transfer between the two drivers had been delayed by two minutes, leading to a one-minute delay in the train's departure and a one-minute delay in warehousing the train at the depot.

JR West initially docked the man 85 yen ($0.75; $0.55), but later agreed to reduce the fine to 56 yen after the driver took the case to the Okayama Labour Standards Inspection Office.

However, the employee refused to accept the reduction and has argued that the the delay caused no actual disruption to the timetables or passengers as the train was empty during the incident.

But the company says it applied the "no work, no pay principle", as it would for an employee's late arrival or an unexplained absence.

The driver took his case to the Okayama District Court in March, where he is now seeking damages.

Japan's rail system is known for its reliability. In 2017 a rail company issued an apology after one of its trains left a station 20 seconds early.

And if a train delayed by more than five minutes, passengers are issued with a certificate they can use as an excuse for being late.