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Sunday, October 28, 2007

In the news ニュース

In the news today on the front page of the Japan Times’ website is this article: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20071028a1.html. The headline says it all: “Japan, Taiwan to sign deal on flights”. In an agreement that is long overdue, All Nippon Airways 全日本空輸 and Japan Airlines 日本航空 will phase out their practice of flying into Taiwan using their respective subsidiaries, Air Nippon エアーニッポン and Japan Asia Airways 日本アジア航空, and start flying under their own names.

The practice began in 1972 when Tōkyō 東京 switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing so as not to upset the Chinese government. Apparently, ANA and JAL are the only airlines still doing business in this manner. The article quotes Hwang Ju-hou, Taiwan's director of the Committee on Japanese Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, as saying the agreement “…is a sign of normalization in Taiwan-Japan relations…(These subsidiaries) are unnecessary; they're too cautious." This is another positive step in Japanese-Taiwanese relations, though the article does ominously note that “Tokyo first sought and received Beijing's approval for the deal ahead of time.”

The pending agreement, due to be signed during the first week of November, will also open up routes for charter flights between T’aipei (Taibei) 台北 and Komatsu 小松 and Miyazaki 宮崎, to be operated by Taiwan’s national carrier, China Airlines チャイナエアライン. There will now be more opportunities in the future for China Airlines’ planes to crash or catch fire at Japanese airports.

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