• Kyodo News

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A Japanese-Brazilian group submitted the signatures of about 12,000 people Friday to the transport ministry asking for continuation of bankrupt Japan Airlines Corp.’s Narita-Sao Paulo service, which is to be terminated at the end of next month.

The signatures were handed to Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Taizo Mikazuki by Kokei Uehara, chairman of the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture and Social Services, who was visiting Japan.

JAL has been undergoing state-backed rehabilitation since it filed for bankruptcy in January.

The signatures were collected by the group and by the federation of Japanese fraternal organizations based in Brazil from about 9,000 people in Brazil and Paraguay who are mainly of Japanese descent and also from about 3,000 people in Japan.

According to the group and others, the service, launched in 1978, is the only direct flight connecting Japan and Brazil. The group says Japanese-Brazilians are deeply dismayed by JAL’s planned withdrawal and states in a document submitted with the signatures that terminating the service is tantamount to cutting a lifeline between the two countries.

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