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Yonaguni launches new ferry service to Taiwan

Date Posted: 2008-11-14

Yonaguni Town in Okinawa and sister city Karen in Taiwan have inked an agreement to initiate ferry service between the two municipalities starting next month.

Service is set to begin December 12th and 14th with the 399-passenger vessel owned by Taipei City’s Karen International Shipping company carrying a combination of freight and passengers on the new route. The new service marks a first for joint passenger-cargo service between Yonaguni and Karen.

Passengers will travel free at the beginning, while a travel agency established by contract with Yonaguni Town will begin accepting reservations soon. The service will operate as a quasi-charter service initially, but officials say they anticipate the route becoming a permanent, regularly scheduled service. Officials from the two municipalities are working the details on operating costs, and how to set reasonable passenger fares.

“Our target is to navigate this route as regular business,: says Yonaguni Town’s special promotion board director, Chiyo Tasato. “We want to promote the economy and tourism.” Yonaguni Town has received ¥50million in subsidy money from the Japanese government for promotion and reclamation work. The town anticipates operating with a ¥14 million budget.

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