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State briefs for March 5

Hawaii eyes tourism jump from longer ‘Golden Week’

HONOLULU — The tourism industry in Hawaii is anticipating a boost from a stretch of Japanese holidays known as “Golden Week” that was extended this year.

The four national holidays typically observed throughout seven days are a popular time for Japanese tourists to visit Hawaii.

This year the holiday period was extended to 10 days between April 27 and May 6 because of a change in the Japanese royal family. Emperor Akihito is scheduled to abdicate the throne April 30 in favor of Crown Prince Naruhito, who will replace his father May 1.

Hiroyuki “Keith” Kitagawa, the CEO of JTB Hawaii Inc., Hawaii’s largest destination management organization, said he expects nearly 40 percent more Golden Week visitors this year. About 8,700 travelers already booked trips.

The extra three days make it more convenient for Japanese workers to go on vacation, especially on long-haul trips, Kitagawa said.

Last year, the number of Japanese visitors to Hawaii dropped 1 percent to 1.59 million.

The four-month eruption of Kilauea Volcano, which temporarily closed much of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, deterred travelers, as did Hurricanes Lane and Olivia.

Typhoon Jebi, which struck Japan on Sept. 4, caused canceled flights and the closure of Kansai International Airport in Osaka for almost two weeks.

2 children kidnapped and released in Hawaii

HONOLULU — Police in Honolulu are investigating the kidnapping of two children who were released without harm about a half hour later on Oahu.

A 14-year-old and a 4-year-old were in a car Saturday night when two suspects took the vehicle in Mililani.

A man and a woman, who have not been identified, abandoned the car with the children inside.

The kidnapping and theft were first reported by the vehicle’s owners, a 41-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman.

The kidnapping is under investigation.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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