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Boat show stresses awareness

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

If you’re looking forward to a summer of marine sports or fishing, this might be the place to start. The Japan International Boat Show 2012 is currently underway in Yokohama and will continue through Sunday.

More than 160 boats are on display at the annual event’s regular venue at Pacifico Yokohama and at a special new venue for floating exhibits at Yokohama Bayside Marina.

Japan’s largest boat show, which attracted 43,000 people last year, features not only displays of the latest cruisers, yachts and personal watercraft, but also numerous events, including test rides aimed at promoting awareness of the leisure possibilities afforded by the ocean.

Of course, this year the public’s mind is still very much on the destructive potential of the ocean — with the one-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami coming up on March 11 — but this has not deterred the organizers.

“What we must do now, I believe, is to learn with diligence the lessons of the sea’s and nature’s awesome forces and work to spread a proper understanding of them,” explains Takashi Kajikawa, chairman of the Japan Boating Industry Association, which hosts the event. “By working to remove fears based on misinformation and lack of experience, we can help restore an enriching coexistence with the sea and revive marine leisure and the rewarding joys it can bring to so many.”

The highlight of the event will be the announcement of the annual Boat of the Year awards, in which the best and most innovative new boats from Japan and abroad are celebrated.

The Japan International Boat Show 2012 runs through March 4 at Pacifico Yokohama and Yokohama Bayside Marina, both in Kanagawa Prefecture. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults. For more information, visit www.marine-jbia.or.jp/boatshow2012.