Japan's budget airlines have flown into turbulence with AirAsia's local carrier in danger of being grounded, but analysts say the popularity of discount flying should keep the fledgling sector in the sky.
Earlier this month, Malaysia-based AirAsia warned it might pull the plug on its partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), citing management tensions.
While details of the dispute remain unclear, AirAsia, the region's dominant budget carrier, said its Japanese business was "facing some challenges attributed to a difference of opinion in management, most critically on the points of how to operate a low cost business and operating from Narita."
It added that AirAsia Japan was suffering from an "inability to manage costs."
A key constraint on the country's budget carriers is that they have been shut out of Haneda Airport, just a short train ride from downtown Tokyo and the staging point for the most profitable domestic routes, which are controlled by ANA and rival Japan Airlines (JAL).
Flying out of Narita International Airport requires a one-hour train ride from the city center, a long-standing headache for travellers, including passengers with AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between JAL and Australia's Qantas.
The Japanese aviation industry has long been notorious for sky-high landing fees and fuel taxes, in a market that was controlled for decades by JAL and ANA, the country's two dominant carriers.
A heavy storm is forecast for the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido through Friday, due to an extratropical cyclone that transformed from a strong typhoon in the Pacific off Hokkaido around noon on Thursday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Jiji Press)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reshuffled Cabinet was launched Wednesday, with key ministers including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso as well as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga retaining their posts. (The Japan News)
Nagano Prefectural Police announced on Wednesday that a member of a newly formed organized crime group who had been shot at a hot springs resort in Iida City has died, reports TV Asahi (Oct. 7). (Tokyo Reporter)
Child welfare authorities dealt with nearly 90,000 child abuse cases in the fiscal year ending March, a government survey showed Thursday, with experts blaming the record-high figure on increased poverty and the isolation of some families. (Japan Times)
Niigata Prefectural Police on Tuesday raided headquarters of the troubled Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group as a part of an investigation into a baseball gambling case, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 6). (Tokyo Reporter)
Police arrested a former maintenance worker for Schindler Elevator KK on Saturday on suspicion of deliberately stopping one of the company's elevators near Tokyo and obstructing the company's business. (Japan Today)
A strong low-pressure storm with heavy winds and rains hit Japan from Thursday night to Friday, causing injuries, transportation disruptions, evacuations, blackouts and school closures mainly in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. (Japan Today)