The president of the company that operated a tour boat that sank off Hokkaido with 26 people aboard last month was out of the office on the day of the accident and was not in communication with the skipper of the boat, the company has revealed.

Seiichi Katsurada, president of tour operator Shiretoko Yuransen, was absent because he was visiting a hospital, according to a document the company distributed to the families of the passengers by Monday.

Katsurada, who is designated as manager of the tour, was required to stay in the office, according to the company's internal safety management regulations. No one else was registered as the manager's assistants, and Katsurada did not give instructions to other employees on the day of the tour to keep communications with the ship's captain.