Operator of Great Wall trekking tour in which 3 died to close doors

TOKYO —

The travel agency that arranged a tour of the Great Wall of China where three elderly Japanese tourists died in a snowstorm last month will close its doors on Dec 20.

Amuse Travel Co and its president Katsumi Itai had been under fire for lax operational measures. After the November incident, Itai told reporters that his company had not checked the trekking route, nor did he know the name and qualifications of the Chinese guide, Fuji TV reported.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism had ordered the Japan Tourism Agency to investigate Amuse Travel’s operations and examine what safety measures they have in place.

On Wednesday, a Japan Tourism Agency spokesman said it had received an email notice from Amuse, stating that its last day of business would be Dec 20, Fuji TV reported. The company’s five offices in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sendai will close, with the loss of about 50 jobs, Amuse said its email. Itai and two other executives will stay on for awhile to deal with compensation and other legal issues, Fuji reported.

The tour operator has been in trouble before. In 2009, it operated a mountain tour in Hokkaido, during which eight people, including the tour guide, got stranded in icy weather and froze to death. After that incident, the government imposed a 51-day suspension on Amuse but the company organized a tour despite the ban.

Japan Today

  • 0

    supermonk7

    The great wall is tricky to navigate. All the bad design work and hideously uneven stairs produced by slave labor resulted in a very shoddy product. I was lucky to hike a mile of two without slipping and breaking my neck.

  • 0

    rickyvee

    @supermonk7

    so it's the wall's fault?

  • 1

    megosaa

    amateurs trying to make big bucks: FAILED!

  • 6

    some14some

    rename and restart, normal practice among Japanese businesses.

  • 2

    akkk1

    @supermonk: the wall can't be too shoddy if it's still standing after 2000 years with renovations during different eras. at least it never caved in and crushed people to death like some modern tunnels.

  • 4

    gogogo

    Close doors and open up under another name more likely.

  • 1

    SwissToni

    I doubt there's much money in this business after wages and tax. Compo for the families of the victims is likely going to be parlous, I suppose it depends upon he agents insurance. It can't be hard to check on a guides competence, even in China.

  • 1

    comarade_captain

    Indeed those deaths were tragedy but the whole incident has been 'politicalrized' like witch hunting when things has to mention with China! The Japanese public really need a chill pill to calm down!

  • 1

    alliswellinjapan

    8 + 3 people freezing to death in less than 3 years. Not your everyday travel agency.

  • 0

    Jan Claudius Weirauch

    Did they not sign a waiver? Not wanting to protect the agency here but who knows what the 3 people did to protect them self, maybe they cam in high heels and T-shirt without enough warm clothes etc. WE DON'T KNOW!

  • 1

    Newsman

    The tour operator has been in trouble before. In 2009, it operated a mountain tour in Hokkaido, during which eight people, including the tour guide, got stranded in icy weather and froze to death. After that incident, the government imposed a 51-day suspension on Amuse but the company organized a tour despite the ban.

    WHAT?!

  • 0

    Eve Aphayboun

    @ rickyveeDEC. 06, 2012 - 01:21PM JST

    You've never been on the wall have you? I have, and it can be pretty bad.

    First off, the company should have known how bad the wall is, and it's been like this for a long time now, even with redevelopment projects. Knowing that though, the business wanted to make some money, and low/behold, a "trek through the wondrous great wall of china".

    It really depends on which sections you visit, but many of the sections are just traps waiting to happen.

    On another note, after that first incident in 09, this business should have been shut down permanently...

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