CHIBA – The transport ministry has decided to ease carry-on restrictions for liquids and gels carried by travelers who are catching connecting flights from abroad, ministry sources said.
The restrictions are being loosened in line with the global trend toward relaxing baggage controls that were put in place for international flights worldwide after a terrorist plot in 2006, aimed at blowing up aircraft flying from Britain to the United States, was foiled.
The change in policy, which will affect carry-on items ranging from wine to lotion, will take effect Friday, the sources said.
Travelers on international flights originating in Japan are banned from boarding with containers holding more than 100 ml of liquid or gel. From Friday, such carry-on items will be allowed as long as they are in “security tamper-evident bags,” which are clear and designed to hold liquids and gels, the sources said. These items will be subject to screening by special equipment before boarding.
Japan reassessed its baggage guidelines after the United States, Europe and South Korea relaxed theirs. The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry may conduct a trial of the revised policy at Narita International Airport as early as spring, the sources said.
The ministry hopes the changes will pave the way for eventually scrapping the restrictions altogether, they said.
Many travelers are frustrated with the current rules. Narita alone gets about 200 cases a month in which customs officials are required to confiscate wine and other items bought at duty-free shops abroad, to the dismay of those who have bought them.
For domestic flights, however, there are no limits on the amount of liquids in carry-on luggage as long as they aren’t hazardous.