Hirokazu Matsuno : Japan lifts recent ban on booking flights to country

Insight Online News

Tokyo, Dec 2 : The Japanese Transport Ministry has canceled its directive requiring suspension of new flight bookings to the country until late December, initially issued to prevent the spread of the Omicron strain of coronavirus, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Thursday.

The transport ministry on Wednesday addressed airlines with a request to suspend bookings of flights to Japan due to the new Omicron coronavirus strain. The measure also affects those Japanese who are abroad and have not booked their return flight yet.

“A demand of returnees, of Japanese nationals, should be served for details, the details will be provided by MLIT [the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism],” Matsuno told a press conference, as quoted by the official web-site of the Japanese government.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the decision to suspend flight bookings “raised doubt in many people.”

“Regarding this situation, I have ordered the transport ministry to closely monitor the demand of the Japanese nationals on return flights. The demand differs, in particular, on weekends and workdays, and this is to be considered, and measures have to be taken based on this,” Kishida stressed.

The transport ministry might allow the Japanese to book flights on the dates when not more than 3,500 travelers are expected to enter the country, the Kyodo news agency reports. However, it remains unclear, if foreign citizens holding long-terms visas or Japanese residents will be entitled to book their flights again.

As of early Wednesday, 27 countries detected the Omicron strain including Japan, which logged two cases.

UNIINDIA / SPUTNIK

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