Japan to Bolster Inspections of Small Passenger Ships by Aug.

Society Politics

Tokyo, July 14 (Jiji Press)--An expert panel of Japan's transport ministry released Thursday an interim report on strengthening safety measures for small passenger ships, following a deadly accident that involved such a ship in April.

As measures that should be taken promptly, the report mentioned the introduction of unannounced and remote inspections and the announcement of administrative guidance. The ministry plans to implement these measures by the end of August.

In the accident, a sightseeing tour boat sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido on April 23. Of the 26 people on board, 14 have been confirmed dead and the 12 others remain unaccounted for.

In the interim report, the panel also proposed harsher penalties for boat operators violating orders to ensure safety, and called for drawing up specific revisions to the shipping act promptly.

Under the current law, a fine of up to one million yen is imposed for such violations. The ministry plans to boost the fine and introduce imprisonment.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press