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EDITORIAL: Oversight of tour boat industry a vital part of accident probe

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A panel of experts set up by the transport ministry to come up with steps to secure the safety of the tour boat industry in response to a tragedy off the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido last month will need to scrutinize and evaluate the government’s regulatory safety procedures.

It must glean vital lessons from the accident to prevent a recurrence of the April 23 sinking that is presumed to have claimed 26 lives.

The boat operator was involved in two safety breaches last year, which prompted the ministry’s Hokkaido Regional Transport Bureau to conduct a special inspection and on-the-spot checks of the company’s compliance with safety regulations.

The boat’s logbook that was handed over for the special inspection was disclosed to the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on May 13. It contains some disturbing facts.

For all of the 31 outings made on 15 days in July last year, the log shows........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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