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.
Hawkish former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, the supreme adviser to Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations), on Tuesday officially put an end to his nearly 50-year political career after losing his Diet seat in Sunday's Lower House election. (Japan Times)
The Meteorological Agency forecast heavy snow and strong winds nationwide from Tuesday to Wednesday and warned of avalanches, stormy conditions and high waves, as well as disruptions to transport systems. (Japan Times)
Heavy snow caused a power outage along parts of the Joetsu Shinkansen Line for about six hours on Sunday morning, leaving some 300 passengers trapped in a bullet train for 2½ hours near the mountainous southern border of Niigata Prefecture. (Japan Times)
When "Rachel Halle" traveled to Japan for an exchange year, she expected a lot of things from her visit; Japan is a culturally rich, diverse nation with a great deal to offer to exchange students seeking to learn about Japanese history and culture. (care2.com)
This village deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbours who died or moved away. (leaderpost.com)
To spare staff and diners from the "severe emotional trauma" of being surrounded by lovey dovey couples flaunting their love in the faces of lonely singletons, a restaurant in Japan has banned all couples on Christmas Eve - "with no exceptions!"