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Travel & Leisure

Japan tour boat tragedy hangs over post-COVID travel restart

Sightseeing ship operators try to reassure Golden Week tourists on safety

A Japan Coast Guard helicopter lowers a crew member during a search for the missing tour boat in northern Japan on April 24. The sunken boat was later found.   © Kyodo

TOKYO/OSAKA -- After two years struggling against the coronavirus, Japanese tour companies were hoping for the best in the ongoing Golden Week holiday. But their first big test of post-pandemic demand has been marred by a deadly tragedy at sea.

Fourteen people were dead and 12 remained missing as of Sunday after the tour boat they were riding, the Kazu I, vanished off the coast of the northern island of Hokkaido on April 23. It was later found underwater.

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