Japan Negotiating Open Skies Pacts with Asian Countries to Liberalize Aviation at Haneda and Narita

On December 17, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced that is has begun negotiations with countries in Asia for Open Skies pacts (aviation liberalization agreements) that would include the Tokyo area's two airports: Haneda and Narita.

An Open Skies pact is a bilateral agreement to allow airline companies to assign routes and flight volume on their own. Negotiations with South Korea began on December 21, while talks with Singapore will be held in January and with Malaysia in February, all with the goal of reaching agreements during FY2011.

Japan has already made aviation liberalization agreements with countries in East Asia including the three mentioned above, but Haneda and Narita are exempt with limits on landing slots. The goal with this current round of negotiations is to tie Open Skies pacts that include the two metropolitan area airports since Haneda has become an international airport and Narita is expanding its number of landing slots. At present, Japan has only reached an agreement with the United States that includes these two airports.

The MLIT also plans to move ahead with a series of talks with other countries in East and Southeast Asia which have strong ties with the regional economy and aviation services.