British Airways Suspends Japan Flights From April 8th As State of Emergency Declaration Looms

As Japan is likely going to declare a State of Emergency following the sharp rise of Covid-19 cases on the weekend, British Airways has decided to cancel their flights to Japan from Wednesday, April 8th.

The last British Airways flight will leave Tokyo on April 7th after which there will be a period without BA flight connection, likely depending on the government regulation.

There is currently a notice on the British Governments foreign travel advise outlining the new schedule.

British Airways has announced that it will suspend all direct flights between Japan and the UK. The last flight from Tokyo to London will be on Wednesday 8 April. If you have flights booked with BA after this date, please contact them urgently to make alternative arrangements to return home.

Direct flights from Japan to UK are still being operated by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. There are a limited number of indirect flights to the UK transiting via a third country, including with Qatar Airways and Air France, but we advise you to contact your airline or travel agent to check availability and re-book your flight if necessary. A significant number of airlines have suspended flights, and airlines will continue to review their services in the coming days.

The British Embassy is issuing regular updates on Twitter and Facebook with the latest available information on departure options from Japan.

Currently the following information shows for flights ex Tokyo:

British Airways should be able to rebook passengers to Japan Airlines flights in case they still operate and have space, it’s a codeshare flight after all and the airline has duty of care. If they refuse however then travelers might have to try and find their own tickets and claim refunds later from BA.

Japan Times has reported today that the Prime Minister of Japan will likely declare a state of emergency tomorrow.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak in Japan, a government official said Monday, as a recent surge in infections sweeps Tokyo and other major cities.

The prime minister was set to express his intention of declaring the state of emergency — the first of its kind in Japan — at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus response headquarters as early as Monday afternoon, sources said.

At the meeting, he is expected to ask an advisory committee comprised mainly of infectious disease experts for advice on whether the current situation meets the requirements for issuing a declaration.

The official declaration is expected on Tuesday, and will take effect Wednesday, according to an administration source. Abe is required to specify which areas will be targeted and for how long. Major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka will likely be targeted, the government official added. Hyogo Prefecture could also be covered under the declaration, media reports said. …

While Japan has dodged the bullet for quite some time and has declared very few infections there was criticism that since the outbreak started Japan would do very few tests, resulting in little reliable data.

Since Japan has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to next year the authorities began to clamp down gradually, finally taking the situation seriously with everything culminating in the State of Emergency declaration.

Conclusion

Life in Japan has been pretty much going on as normal for the last few weeks and just recently started to realize the danger of going about their business as usual. John has stayed in Kyoto for the past weeks and mentioned that a mood of crisis has been barely noticeable if at all.

I’d imagine that other airlines will also suspend their Japan connections if they haven’t already following the recent restrictions on immigration, essentially sealing the country off from most foreigners. It’s a busy season though with Sakura going on and there should still be plenty of people to repatriate if they so choose.

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