Fighting Overs Islands: Politics Cancel Flights

Political Row Cut Flights Between Japan and China

Political Row Cut Flights Between Japan and China

Claims of sovereignty over islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, escalated a political row between the two countries. Protests have been held in China, Japanese businesses vandalized and in general, Japanese companies doing business in China are facing pressure by the Chinese Government. On the brighter side, the Chinese government has put an end to the riots directed at Japanese business.

The island group consists of five uninhabited islets along with three barren rocks. These small islands in the East China Sea are located approximately 120 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, 200 nautical miles east of the Chinese mainland and 200 nautical miles southwest of the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Just recently, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minamikojima, Kitakojima, and Uotsuri islands by purchasing them from the Kurihara family — a move China objected to, saying Beijing would not “sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated.”

As a result, Japan Air Lines, best known as JAL, has been forced to reduce flights between the two nations because of a temporary lack of both business and leisure demand.

Chinese passengers holding tickets to Japan are reportedly overwhelming travel agencies, wanting to cancel or re-schedule their trip while some Japanese don’t want to travel to China until the situation cools-off.

The JAL flight reductions between Japan and China are as follows

  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Beijing (PEK) has been reduced to one daily flight on JL863 / JL864
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Shanghai (PVG) has been reduced to two daily flights – JL877 thru JL874
  • Osaka-Kansai (KIX) to Shanghai (PVG) has been reduced to one daily flight – JL897 / JL898

These changes are expected to be temporary, through the period of October 10 to October 27, 2012.

Passengers of JAL with reservations on the affected flights will be contacted with further details about reservation changes and re-ticketing.

A second notification will be made if these “irregular changes in travel demand” continue past October 28, 2012, the first day of the winter travel schedule.

Both nations cannot afford to “lose face” over the dispute, but given the interwoven economies of the two countries which are tangled into the web of world trade, the two nations need each other. China receives a lot of electronic components from Japan for devices they assemble and export, one popular line of items being Apple’s iPad and iPhone line of products.

Japan is also a large importer from China when it comes to finished electronic goods and clothing.

At the end of the day, China needs Japan for electronic components and Japan need China for cheap imports. The question is who needs the other the most? Many believe things will eventually quiet down in the interest of international trade, but the spat sure does have the potential to make a mess.

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