10 confirmed dead after tourist boat goes missing off Japan’s Hokkaido

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Ten people were confirmed dead after a tourist boat with a total of 26 passengers and crew aboard went missing off eastern Hokkaido in north Japan, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) said.

As many as 10 persons died on Sunday.

The boat called Kazu I reported it took in water off eastern Hokkaido while sightseeing around the scenic Shiretoko Peninsula on Saturday afternoon, and then it went missing, according to the JCG.

Twenty-four passengers were aboard the boat along with two crew members, according to the JCG, and the passengers included two children, Xinhua news agency reported.

The deceased included seven men and three women, it added.

The coast guard said it received the report around 1:15 p.m. on Saturday and patrol boats were headed to the site around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday to conduct a rescue.

High waves and strong winds were observed in the area around Saturday afternoon, and fishing boats returned to port before noon because of the bad weather, according to local fisheries cooperative.

In Tokyo, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism set up a task force on the Hokkaido accident.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his cabinet members to “do everything in their power to save lives,” a government official said.

Aircraft and vessels dispatched by the coast guard and the Self-Defence Forces are currently continuing with rescue efforts.

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