Business welcomes MSDF ship visit to Ishigaki

Three Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force training ships that paid a port call to Ishigaki City, Mar. 31, received a warm welcome from the island’s business community, but some civic groups had other opinions regarding the visit

“That’s not a cruise ship, it’s a battle ship which gives people a feeling of oppression. It might ruin our image as being a top-quality tourist site,” the groups said.

On the other hand, members of the Ishigaki Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the local Tourism Exchange Association, a total of some 50 people attended the welcome ceremony, where Miss Yaeyama welcomed the sailors with a bouquet of flowers. About 200 people attended the welcome party held that same evening.

Ishigaki City Tourist Association chairman Yasuhiro Miyahira commented, “800 sailors arrived on the island and they’re welcome. We hope this visit results in attracting more tourists to the island.”