December 08, 2020 12:02
Korea has rejected a Japanese request to resume flights between Gimpo International Airport in Seoul and Tokyo's Haneda Airport citing quarantine risks.
The Korean government channeled all incoming flights to Incheon International Airport in April to make it easier to screen and quarantine foreigners. But recently some international flights resumed at other airports including between Gimhae International Airport in Busan and Qingdao, China.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's cabinet recently proposed the resumption of Gimpo-Haneda flights to expand special entry procedures for businesspeople on both sides.
Ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, who also heads the All Nippon Travel Agents Association, made the proposal when National Intelligence Service chief Park Jie-won visited Tokyo last month.
Gimpo and Haneda are much more conveniently located than their bigger brethren Incheon and Narita, which are both more than an hour away from downtown Seoul and Tokyo.
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, which are struggling due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, made the same request.
But Seoul refused, citing concerns that resuming the flights could complicate quarantine efforts. At present, the only flights between Korea and Japan are from Incheon to Narita, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Tokyo also asked the Korean government to resume small-scale tours on condition that travelers are prohibited from using public transport and will be shuttled around in buses while tour guides are in charge of enforcing quarantine measures.
Japan wants to resume the tours ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year.
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