OSAKA – The summer vacation exodus peaked Saturday at the main international airports in the Osaka and Tokyo areas amid heightened security following a recent failed terrorist attack plan in Britain.
People going back to their hometowns for the Bon midsummer holidays also jammed roads and railway stations.
Kansai International Airport in the bay off Osaka saw long lines of passengers waiting for tighter carry-on baggage inspections, following Thursday’s revelation of a terrorist plan to blow up airlines with liquid explosives.
Some travelers had to repack their bags in airport terminals after learning that bottles containing liquids including soft drinks and shampoo have been banned from airplanes.
Lines grew noticeably longer ahead of departures for the United States, a nation considered a target of choice among terrorists.
“You can’t even carry on sunscreen lotion, which is needed in going to Guam,” said Natsuko Nagai, 30, who was traveling to Guam from Kobe with friends.
“I couldn’t even buy perfume or (makeup) creams at duty-free shops (in the airport),” she said.
According to Kansai airport, about 25,300 passengers were set to leave the airport for overseas. Narita International Airport also saw had high passenger numbers.
The return peak is expected for Aug. 19.
According to the travel industry, few passengers canceled their summer tour plans because of the news of the failed terrorist plot.
“Now I feel safer (than before) because inspections and security guards have become severer. I don’t think terrorist attacks will take place right after” the revelation of a failed attempt, said Akiko Matsuoka, 50, a housewife going from Narita to Paris with her family.
Railway officials said the occupancy rate of bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, which links Tokyo and Osaka, reached 180 percent as the first run left Tokyo station at 6 a.m.
Meanwhile, traffic was backed up for 112 km from the Nasu Kogen service area on the Tohoku Expressway in Tochigi Prefecture, 63 km around the Fujikawa service area on the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka Prefecture and 54 km from the Takarazuka-Nishi tunnel on the Chugoku Expressway in Hyogo Prefecture.
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