Tour Boat Operator Raided over Fatal Accident off Hokkaido

Society

Shari, Hokkaido, May 2 (Jiji Press)--Japan Coast Guard officers Monday raided the operator of the Kazu I sightseeing tour boat, which sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, on April 23.

The 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters searched the office of Shiretoko Yuransen in the Hokkaido town of Shari and other related locations, including the home of the company's head, for alleged professional negligence resulting in death.

In the accident, 14 of the 26 passengers and crew members have been found and confirmed dead. Searches are going on for the remaining 12 people.

Seiichi Katsurada, 58, head of the operator, has said he decided to have the boat depart for a sightseeing tour on condition that it returned if the sea became rough, although he was aware of strong wind and high surf advisories issued for the town.

Katsurada also claims to have talked with Noriyuki Toyoda, the 54-year-old captain of the boat, before making the decision. The captain remains unaccounted for.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press