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.