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Japan reverses decision to stop inbound flight reservations

TOKYO: Japan yesterday reversed a ban on inbound flight reservations, revealing confusion between government agencies and the public over Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's strategy to keep out the Omicron coronavirus variant.

On Monday, Japan's Aviation Bureau told airlines not to accept new reservations for this month because of Omicron, two cases of which have been found in the country, but the abrupt announcement provoked worries among those aiming to return for year-end holidays.

Mr Kishida said the move caused confusion, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno added that the Prime Minister had asked the Transport Ministry, which oversees the airline industry, to keep in mind the needs of returning Japanese.

"I understand the Transport Ministry has cancelled its instruction for the blanket suspension of new reservations and asked airlines anew to give sufficient consideration to the needs of returning Japanese nationals," Mr Matsuno said.

Airlines may take new reservations as long as the number of arrivals stays below a daily limit of 3,500, down from last month's figure of 5,000, a Transport Ministry official said. - REUTERS

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