Airlines Requested by Japanese Gov’t to Halt All New Reservations for Flights to Japan

Dec 2, 2021 @ 12:29pm JST story update: The Japanese government said Thursday it has withdrawn its request for airlines to completely stop taking reservations for inbound international flights this month in the wake of criticism the measure against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus goes too far. Please read the full update on JapanToday.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has requested domestic and foreign airlines to suspend new reservations for all international flights arriving in Japan in an effort to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. ANA and JAL have already accepted the request. This is according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The MLIT plans to notify all airlines of its request by December 1st. The policy is meant as a preventative emergency measure to stop the spread of infection until more is known about Omicron. Reservations already booked for arrival in Japan in December and international flights departing from Japan to overseas will not be affected.

The measure will apply to everyone, including Japanese nationals and means that if it is accepted by the airlines, even Japanese people and foreigners with residency status who are planning to return to Japan for the year-end New Year holidays will not be able to do so, if they have not already booked their flights.

The MLIT may consider extending this policy based on the status of infections.

The government has already stopped all new entry by foreigners and re-entry for foreigners with residency status who have recently been to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The maximum number of foreigners entering the country a day has also been lowered to 3,500 people from 5,000.

Source: Nikkei newspaper, December 1, 2021 (in Japanese)

Lead image: Narita Airport, taken November 29, 2012, via iStock 458356561 Credit:winhorse

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