Japan Backs Down on Flight Booking Halt after Lack of Communication

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)--The government of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reversed course on a request for airlines to suspend bookings for Japan-bound international flights related to the omicron coronavirus variant only three days after it was issued, due to insufficient communication between the prime minister's office and the transport ministry.

Following the spread of the new variant of the novel coronavirus around the world, the government Tuesday banned entry in principle by foreigners from anywhere in the world and lowered the cap on the daily number of entrants to the country to 3,500 from 5,000.

On Monday, the transport ministry urged Japanese and foreign airlines to suspend taking new reservations for December flights arriving in Japan. The Kishida government withdrew the requests Thursday.

"We caused confusion," Kishida told reporters upon arriving at the prime minister's office Thursday morning. "I instructed the transport ministry to give sufficient considerations for demand among Japanese nationals abroad to return home." At a press conference an hour later, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced the cancellation of the request to airlines.

On Friday, Kishida told reporters that the government will respond to such demand "in a detailed manner."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press