Recently the Asahi News reported the following:
In the morning of the 27th a driver of an express train that departed from Akihabara of Tokyo fell into a doze, it was understood, according to the railway organization serving the capital metropolis. According to the Ministry of Transport, a train driver who was in his 20s was now under close investigation, and instruction was given to carry out a thorough check to look for the reason. According to the this company, the incident took place in the morning train departing at 8.02 am for Tsukuba (Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture) , being an express train (6 carriages with 200 passengers). At about 45 minute, as it was travelling at a section (26 km) between Moriya of Ibaraki prefecture and Tsukuba, a passenger noticed that that driver was falling into a doze. The passenger used the cellular phone to take some video, and passed it to the staff of the station. This driver in response to the investigation said that "at 8.25 before he left the Minanagareyama station (Nagareyamashi in Chiba prefecture) he felt sleepy and he opened the window of the train. At 8.37 when he departed from Moriya station, he again felt a strong urge to sleep, in particular he felt asleep for about 1 to 2 minutes".
If this passenger did not report the incident, probably no one would know that such a thing had ever happened, except until a serious accident occurred. It seems that railway safety is always a challenge for all the train companies in the world.