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Japan's purchase of Diaoyu Islands overshadows air travel

(Xinhua)

08:24, September 21, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Japanese airlines have been hit hard with flights between the two countries being canceled as a result of Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands.

Airlines have reported a rise in intra-country flight cancellations amid growing tensions since the Japanese government announced its decision to "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands on Sept. 10, fueling anti-Japan protests in dozens of Chinese cities.

On Wednesday, Japan Airlines, its country's biggest airline, made a modest return to the stock market after the biggest initial public offering this year since Facebook. Its share prices were weighed down by investor jitters over the Sino-Japan tensions and airline industry prospects amid sluggish global growth.

Japan Airlines said 5,250 Chinese tourists who were scheduled to visit the country between September and November have canceled their trips while 4,600 Japanese tourists called off their visits to China during the period.

Another Japanese carrier, the All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) reported around 3,800 seats from Japan and some 15,000 trips from China have been canceled through November.

An ANA spokesman said the cancellations were similar to the number canceled in 2010, when a collision between two Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships and a Chinese trawler in the East China Sea off the Diaoyu Islands led to escalating tensions.

The airline operates 21 air routes linking four airports in Japan, including Haneda airport and Narita airport in Tokyo, and 10 Chinese cities.

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