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Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012

Festering islet dispute with China inflicting pain on aviation, travel industries


The heightened Japan-China tensions over the Senkaku Islands dispute is affecting the aviation and travel industries of both sides, with future prospects looking increasingly gloomy, analysts say.

According to Japan's transport and tourism ministry, weekly flights between the countries had dropped by 122 as of Friday, about 16 percent of the roughly 740 offered before tensions flared anew.

Japanese carriers cut 21 regular flights while Chinese carriers eliminated as many as 101. Separately, 50 regular Chinese flights to Japan have been canceled since the beginning of this month alone.

In tandem with the shrinking air traffic, Japanese travel to China has declined markedly. Reservations for package tours to China in October have fallen to "about half" the previous year's level, JTB Corp. said. Other major travel agencies are reporting the same effect.

Still, overall reservations for overseas trips originating in Japan have been solid, thanks in part to the yen's strength, other sources said. China tours account for less than 5 percent of the agencies' overseas tours in terms of number of participants.

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