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Japan reverses restrictions on flights from Hong Kong and Macau

Japan reverses restrictions on flights from Hong Kong and Macau
People walk through a shopping street in Omotesando area of Tokyo on December 15, 2022. (Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan will allow flights from Hong Kong and Macau to land at any airport in the country, partially reversing a rule it implemented last week for both cities and mainland China that restricted arrivals to four major airports. 

Direct flights from Hong Kong and Macau will no longer be limited to Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu Centrair airports, according to a government statement on Wednesday. Airlines also will be asked to not increase the number of flights they offer, the statement said. 

The about-face comes after Hong Kong requested that the rule be withdrawn, saying it created confusion for travellers visiting Japan over the holidays, according to local reports. The curb would have affected about 10,000 people, the Nikkei newspaper reported on 28 December. 

The Japanese government limited direct flights from China, Hong Kong and Macau to the four major airports starting on 30 December. The restriction came as China abandoned the stringent Covid Zero policy it pursued for the first three years of the pandemic and moved to throw open its borders starting 8 January. New arrivals from China will be required to have negative Covid-19 test results, officials said. 

Japan eased part of the policy on 29 December, allowing flights from Hong Kong and Macau to land at Naha, Fukuoka and New Chitose airports, provided that none of the passengers had travelled to mainland China within the previous seven days. BM/DM



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