Although many international services have resumed at Japan’s major airports, the situation across the country remains volatile.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains its advice against non-essential travel to Japan, a country struggling to return to normality following the massive earthquake on March 11 and the resulting tsunami.
Increasing concerns over radiation leakage at Japan’s power stations mean air travel could be affected in the days to come, with airlines such as Lufthansa diverting services away from Tokyo. Air France-KLM has relocated its staff from Tokyo to Osaka.
A JAL spokesperson in the UK told Business Traveller that there were “no problems whatsoever” with its international flights, although domestic services would continue to be affected.
But while airlines are diverting services, they’re also putting on extra ones to cope with increased demand. Cathay Pacific for example has put on extra flights today (March 16) between Tokyo and Hong Kong, while JAL has also scheduled additional services.
Fuel rationing, while it remains in place, will affect buses, taxis and other road users making travel to and from Japan’s airports very difficult. Power cuts are affecting many Japanese cities, and much of outer Tokyo.
The overriding message is that while international travel to Japan is possible, travellers should think carefully and seek advice from their country’s foreign office or equivalent.
Those travelling to Japan by air should contact their airline first. Below is a list of useful websites where contacts details and general advice can be found.
Report by Andrew Gough