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South Africa wants to establish direct flights to Japan to help foster exchanges between the two countries, South African Ambassador to Japan B. S. Ngubane said Friday.

South Africa has enjoyed good trade relations with Japan, and it now hopes to expand “people- Ngubane to-people contacts” in business, cultural, sports and other fields, Ngubane said.

“We really want to have more tourists from here,” he said in Tokyo. “Direct flights would make a big difference.”

South Africa wants to establish a direct link with Japan, possibly involving Narita, Kansai and Nagoya airports, he said.

It currently takes 18 hours to fly to South Africa. About 45,000 Japanese visited South Africa last year, Ngubane said.

Direct flights would provide Japanese businesspeople with closer contacts with South Africa, an economic giant on the continent, and tourists could enjoy its wonderful natural treasures, he said.

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