Shiretoko small-boat sightseeing tours resume

Small tour boats have resumed service off Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, northern Japan, after setting their own safety rules.

Small-boat operators have refrained from sightseeing tours this season after a tour boat from the area sank in April, leaving 26 people dead or missing.

Following the accident, an association of operators of small tour boats at Utoro Port in Shari Town set their own safety rules.

The rules say that multiple operators must discuss and decide whether to conduct tours each day, and that no boat will go out alone, in principle.

The first boat left the port at 10 a.m. on Thursday with about 20 passengers, all wearing life vests.

It was accompanied by another boat, which was there to offer help in case of an emergency.

Two more tours are scheduled in the afternoon.