Diplomatic spat hits Japan air travel

Diplomatic spat hits Japan air travel

An ongoing diplomatic spat between Japan and China has hit air travel between the two neighbouring Asian giants.

Following a row between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea some 11,000 trips on flights to China have been cancelled according to carriers.

The dispute began when Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain on September 8th near the islands, known as the Diaoyu islands in Chinese and the Senkaku islands in Japan.

Both countries claim sovereignty over the uninhabited islands.

Since the dispute broke out All Nippon Airways said it had received 7,500 cancellations, while Japan Airlines (JAL) said about 3,600 trips were cancelled.

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JAL president Masaru Onishi said the airline would consider cutting flights if the situation worsens.

“The reality is that the number of seat reservations on Japan-China air routes is slow to grow partly because of the anti-Japanese demonstrations that have been held in various Chinese cities,” he said.

“It is possible that JAL will reduce flights.”

The Japanese national carrier is presently battling back from bankruptcy under government supervision.

In response to the Japanese protests Beijing has cancelled high-level official meetings and cultural events.

Demonstrators in both countries staged nationalist protests at the weekend over the rival claims to the uninhabited islands and the waters that surround them.