Japanese Airlines Break Rank Over Chinese Buffer Zone

      November 27, 2013 09:18

      Japanese airlines have submitted their flight schedules to China after Beijing on Saturday created a new Air Defense Identification Zone where passing aircraft must identify themselves.

      JAL submitted its flight schedule last Saturday and ANA on Sunday even though there is some dispute about overlaps with the buffer zones of neighboring countries.

      Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday claimed the new Chinese identification zone "has no effect on Japan. I've told airlines to follow the previous rules."

      But the airlines apparently felt they must "give top priority to flight safety," the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

      Taiwanese and Hong Kong airlines also submitted their flight schedules.

      Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida had hoped that there would be "cooperation" with Korea, Taiwan and the U.S. since the zone includes Korean and Japanese-controlled airspace and there had been a mild warning from the U.S.

      No Korean airlines have so far submitted their own flight schedules, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Korean planes pass China's new buffer zone en route to Southeast Asia, and flights are running as normal.

      "About 500 flights pass through the Chinese zone every day, some 310 of them Korean carriers," a ministry official said. "No Korean airlines have submitted flight schedules but there has been no complaint from Beijing yet."

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