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Denzel Washington reports for Tokyo subway duty

By AFP

Tokyo subway commuters had a brush with Hollywood stardom Thursday when Denzel Washington briefly played train dispatcher, announcing in his velvet baritone that "the train is leaving now".

The two-time Oscar winner visited the command centre of a Tokyo underground rail station to promote his subway-thriller "The Taking of Pelham 123".

"Densha hassha shimasu (the train is leaving now)," he said in Japanese in the Kokuritsu Kyogijo station as a train departed at 1:23 pm (0423 GMT).

Some 2.4 million people a day use the subway system operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which boasts efficiency and strict scheduling.

"To be a train dispatcher for one day," Washington chuckled at the promotional event. "Be very careful... if I'm in charge."

In the suspense film, Washington plays a New York City train dispatcher who becomes the lead negotiator with a hijacker played by John Travolta.

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