HONOLULU and TOKYO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Japan Airlines and All-Nippon Airways have had tens of thousands of seat reservations canceled on flights to China while territorial disputes simmer, airline officials confirm.
Small islands in the East China Sea, occupied by Japanese fishermen but claims by China, have become a hot button issue in both countries, but in China the disputes have led to anti-Japanese demonstrations that briefly closed Japanese factories in China. This in turn has led to cancellations of many business trips.
Japan Airlines says more than 15,000 seats have been canceled in recent days and ANA counts more than 37,000 cancellations, with more coming in.
JAL, which flies three times daily Tokyo-Shanghai and twice daily Tokyo-Beijing as well as twice daily Osaka-Shanghai, is cutting each route back by one daily flight starting in October, and ANA says it will reduce its capacity as well.
"We will suggest other destination spots particularly for our group passengers," said JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki.
China has also stepped up its protests and naval patrols in territorial disputes over islands claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.