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Senkaku dispute fouls tourism exchanges

Date Posted: 2010-10-20

Okinawa and China have been developing increased tourism exchange programs, but the Senkaku Islands dispute over intrusion by a Chinese trawler into Japanese waters has brought business to a standstill.

Nearly 1,000 tourists slated to visit Okinawa in late September and early October have been told they can’t come. Jumbo Tours President Katsumi Tanimura, who organized the charter flights tour, has apologized to the tourists, who were blocked from travel only two days before scheduled departure to Okinawa.

At the same time the first of Chinese tourists were to board aircraft for Okinawa, another 134 were to head west to China on a six-days-five-nights tour. Canceled by China, the missed tourism travel is costing organizers and businesses ¥34 million. Okinawa Prefecture has been trying to strengthen relations with Chinese airlines and travel agencies, but that’s been sidetracked. “There was one phone call from Shisen Air Line’s vice president,” says Jumbo Tours travel agency, “simply telling us Okinawa travel will be cancelled.” The Jumbo official says China’s not offering any further explanations, or discussions about compensation.

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