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News photo
Passengers squeeze more items into a suitcase before check-in due to enhanced security checks at Narita airport Friday.
KYODO PHOTO


People traveling during the peak of the summer vacation season were inconvenienced by reinforced security checks at airports, but carriers were operating on schedule, with no flight cancellations or delays.
Japan Airlines Corp., which has two daily flights to London, said about 220 passengers left on a flight to London from Narita airport, while the plane from Kansai airport departed with roughly 240 passengers.
JAL spokesman Yoshiteru Suzuki said the carrier had few cancellations for flights departing Saturday and onward. JAL flights to London are almost fully booked, he said.
“I don’t think many people can postpone their holidays,” Suzuki said. “Unlike the Sept. 11 – terrorist attacks, the successful halt to the terrorist plot has had (little impact) on the public’s attitude.”

All Nippon Airways Co., which has seven flights a week between Tokyo and London, also saw no effects from the incident. Its Friday flight to London was almost fully booked, at 260 passengers.

However, ANA said it has stopped using its automatic check-in machines in an effort to increase security. The airline is asking travelers to arrive at the airport early, as it takes more time to go through the security checks, the carrier said.

Britain announced Thursday that police and the MI5 intelligence agency had arrested 21 people linked to a thwarted terrorist plot to blow up several aircraft midflight between Britain and the United States.

People traveling to the U.S. can no longer have any fluids on their carry-on luggage, as the British plot involved explosive fluids. This includes shampoo, lotion and toothpaste. There are no such restrictions for flights leaving Japan for other destinations.

JTB Corp., the nation’s largest travel agency, has yet to compile the number of cancellations for its tours to Britain, but the company said it expects there to be few. JTB tours were leaving as planned and 117 travelers left Japan for Britain on Thursday, the company said.

The Foreign Ministry issued an advisory late Thursday urging Japanese nationals traveling to or staying in Britain to keep updated on security information.

Security boost

The government has ordered airlines to tighten security due to the discovery of a terrorist plot in Britain, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Friday.

While there is no evidence Japan faces any immediate threat, the government has ordered airlines and airports to tighten security and thoroughly check fluids passengers take onto aircraft, as the British plot involved highly explosive liquids, the top government spokesman told a Diet committee session.

It also ordered airlines with flights from Britain to take safety precautions when leaving British airports, he said.

“We will continue to gather information and ensure we take countermeasures,” Abe said.

The National Police Agency meanwhile ordered all prefectural police to raise their alert level around the country’s airports and increasing their exchange of information exchange with airport officials. It also ordered more airport security to patrol during busy periods.

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