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.
Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force transport ship Osumi carrying a Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile battery arrived at the remote southwestern Japan island of Ishigaki Saturday in preparations for a possible missile launch by North Korea. (Jiji Press)
The annual number of accidents during gymnastic formation performances has exceeded 8,000 for four years in a row since fiscal 2011 in primary, middle and high schools, according to the Japan Sport Council (JSC). (the-japan-news.com)
As if accommodating Chinese visitors on their usual shopping sprees weren't enough, major Japanese retailers are now actively working to lure this demographic to their storefronts for the Lunar New Year. (Nikkei)
Sharp Corp. and Hon Hai Precison Industry Co. on Friday signed a contract granting the Taiwan electronics giant preferential rights to negotiate over a bailout plan for the struggling Japanese company. (the-japan-news.com)
The day before his arrest at his apartment for possession of stimulant drugs, former professional baseball player Kazuhiro Kiyohara visited a dealer in Gunma Prefecture, investigative sources revealed on Friday, reports Sports Hochi. (Tokyo Reporter)
The number of people charged with stimulant abuse in Japan tops 10,000 every year, and the number of such people aged 40 years or older has been increasing in particular, police said. (the-japan-news.com)
Police referred a 16-year-old high school student to prosecutors on Friday on suspicion of using software on other people's computers to obtain the online account details of several hundred people, including records of their online shopping. (Japan Times)