Japanese businesses eye resumption of flights with China, but conditions yet to be met
Published: Jun 16, 2021 10:30 PM
Booth of Japan's Yamazaki Mazak Corp at the China International Import Expo in 2020 Photo: VCG

Booth of Japan's Yamazaki Mazak Corp at the China International Import Expo in 2020 Photo: VCG

Japanese business representatives on Wednesday called for resumption of direct flights between Chinese and Japanese cities with no quarantine to boost business, as more Japanese companies plan to expand in the Chinese market despite tension in bilateral tensions.  

Takashima Ryusuke, director-general for the Beijing Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), said that he was looking forward to the reopening of direct flights between Beijing and Japanese cities, since it is very inconvenient for Japanese businessmen to visit China at the moment.

"This is something that needs to be addressed urgently, and we hope that there will be direct flights and no 14-day quarantine," Takashima said, noting that although businesses can communicate through the internet, the efficiency is limited.

The comments were made at an event jointly held by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (CJCCI) and the JETRO Beijing office on Wednesday.

"There has been no particular progress in terms of the opening of direct flights," Daisuke Mikogami, chairman of the CJCCI, told the Global Times at the event on Wednesday, noting that before coming to Beijing, there is now a three-week quarantine, which is very difficult for Japanese businessmen.

While the Japanese businesses' expectation for the establishment of a green channel is understandable, there are basic procedures that must be followed in order to ensure the proper containment of COVID-19, experts said.

In addition to the fact that Chinese-made vaccines are not currently approved in Japan - unlike South Korea - there are still many reported COVID-19 cases in Japan, Xiang Haoyu, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Under such circumstances, the hopes raised by the Japanese side do not conform to the actual situation, and they are not conducive to China's basic domestic requirements for epidemic prevention and control, nor is it conducive to our safety," said Xiang.

There were 1,418 new COVID-19 cases and 67 new deaths reported in Japan on Tuesday, according to local media reports.

China is strict with all countries affected by the epidemic, not targeting Japan, the expert stressed.

The calls also came as more Japanese companies plan to expand in China, despite difficulties created by trade tensions between China and the US, according to a white paper released at the event on Wednesday.

China and the US have strengthened export and cross-border controls over products, technologies and data from both countries, which has forced some Japanese companies to consider the risks of surviving in the gap between the restrictions imposed by China and the US, read the White Paper.

However, among the surveyed Japanese enterprises in China, 90.4 percent held a positive attitude on plans to further expand the scale of local procurement in the next one to three years.

This figure was the highest in the entire Asia-Pacific region, well above the regional average of 74.8 percent.

"Japan's China policy remains divided. On the one hand, it follows closely in the US' footsteps in supply chains in an attempt to reduce the risks of 'too much reliance' on China, but in reality, China and Japan have a deep industry chain connection in various sectors, ranging from consumer electronics to semiconductors and automobiles," said Xiang.