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Japan aviation policy under a Kan-do government. Bureaucracy the stumbling block to a new future


Once again Japan has a new prime minister, as the revolving door continues to spin. Mr Naoto Kan is Japan’s eighth Prime Minister to hold office this century (and that includes Junichiro Koizumi, who lasted a remarkable four years). The new incumbent PM is basically an economic reformer while, importantly, Transport Minister, Seiji Maehara, remains. As JAL stumbles, the entire Japanese aviation system must drag itself into the new world if it is to have a future. This Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation report considers whether the new leadership will bring with it any change in aviation policy and, importantly, looks at the forces of inertia which will need to be overcome. [3054 words]

Unlock the following content in this report:


  • The pressures for leadership change; failing popularity, with elections imminent
  • The new man: pragmatic and flexible, economic reformer - but no changes until after the elections
  • Aviation policy should remain on track, but it is complex and the Minister’s role will be influential on outcomes
  • Growth strategy panel to fix (insoluble?) airport problems
  • Kansai’s debt a pressing issue
  • But Narita IPO on the back burner, as slots grow rapidly
  • Haneda to be a major intercontinental hub – or not?
  • The Japanese bureaucratic imperative – unwritten rules rule
  • Japan’s high cost operating environment; taxes and charges abound
  • These include crippling fuel taxes, aircraft property taxes and airport usage charges
  • A system (still) out of touch with commercial reality
  • And, at the heart of the business – the airlines
  • And the end game: taking on the bureaucracy?
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