National

13 Japanese airports to suspend flights to mainland China

Kyodo

Regular flights between mainland China and at least 13 regional airports in Japan will be completely suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, operators of the facilities said Monday.

Airports in Ibaraki, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and other prefectures will have no direct flights to Shanghai or any other Chinese cities starting Saturday at the latest.

“(Cancellations) are beginning to have a major impact on local tourism industries,” transport minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said at a news conference.

The other airports affected are in Sendai, Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture and Kitakyushu, the transport ministry and other sources said.

Chinese airlines have been increasingly informing prefectural authorities of flight suspensions since the Chinese government last month banned its citizens from tour group travel overseas in response to the deadly outbreak, which is thought to have originated in the city of Wuhan.

Round-trip flights between Japan and China planned for the week that began Sunday have fallen by around 60 percent to just 680, as airlines canceled or reduced flights, according to the ministry.