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OSAKA — A new ferry service connecting Osaka with Pusan, South Korea, went into service Wednesday.

The 9,723-ton Panstar Dream, which can carry up to 530 people, will make three round-trips between Osaka and Pusan a week.

The boat is operated by Panstar Line Co., a shipping company based in Seoul. Each trip takes about 18 hours.

The route was set up in line with an agreement by the Japanese and South Korean governments to establish a new ferry connection.

Efforts were expedited to deal with an expected rise in traffic between the two countries during the World Cup soccer finals they will cohost from May 31 to June 30.

The Osaka Municipal Government said it hopes the regular ferry service will also help attract South Korean visitors to Universal Studios Japan, a Hollywood theme park in Osaka. A previous ferry service linking Osaka and Pusan stopped operating in 1993.

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