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Emirates resumes Tokyo flights as UAE and Japan deepen ties

Monitor, Screen, Computer Hardware Unspash/Diego Fernandez
Emirates will once again fly to Tokyo's Haneda airport, having already resumed services to Narita and Osaka
  • Relaunch of services is attempt to “build back Japanese network” 
  • UAE was Japan’s 10th largest trading partner in 2021
  • UAE-Japan business council to be set up in Q1 this year

Emirates said on Thursday it will resume flights to Tokyo-Haneda airport from April 2, after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubai’s flag carrier said the service will be operated by one of its Boeing 777 Game Changer aircraft, with the outbound flight EK312 departing Dubai at 07.50 and arriving in Haneda at 22.35 local time. The return flight EK313 will leave Haneda at 00.05 and arrive in Dubai at 06.20.  

The resumption of services is an attempt by Emirates to “build back its Japanese network and provide even more choice and flexibility for travellers to one of [Asia’s] top economies and destinations”, the airline said. 

Emirates reintroduced daily flights to Tokyo’s larger international airport Narita and Japan’s second largest city Osaka in July, and it resumed its daily A380 service to Narita in November amid rising demand for post-pandemic travel and tourism.

The move comes as the UAE and Japan take steps to boost diplomatic and trade ties.

The UAE was Japan’s 10th largest trading partner in 2021 with bilateral trade reaching $30.5 billion, the UAE’s state news agency Wam reported in February. UAE exports to Japan grew to $26 billion by the end of 2021 and imports from Japan rose to $6.5 billion. 

Meanwhile, the UAE met 41.5 percent of Japan’s total crude oil requirements in November – equivalent to 32.17 million barrels. Oil remains the most significant energy source in Japan, accounting for 40 percent of the country’s total energy supply, according to the International Energy Agency. 

However, last year saw the 50th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Japan and the UAE, and they jointly pledged to diversify cooperation further into non-energy sectors including renewables, advanced technology, robotics and AI, healthcare, medical equipment and space exploration. 

Shihab Ahmed Alfaheem, UAE’s ambassador to Japan, said last year: “The strength of bilateral trade came [from] post-Covid pandemic recovery and the increase of main traded products such as motor vehicles, machineries and equipment, and aluminium. 

“Japan’s FDI [foreign direct investment] stock is estimated at more than $4 billion in 2021, while the UAE’s outward FDI stock in Japan is valued at around $2.1 billion.” 

Investments by Japanese multinational companies in the UAE “significantly declined” in 2021, Alfaheem added, without providing figures, but “new business perspectives have been developed between the two countries, such as Japan’s first fuel ammonia cooperation deal with Adnoc [Abu Dhabi National Oil Company] in January 2021.” 

Last December, the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Japan’s External Trade Organisation in Dubai agreed to set up a UAE-Japan business council to promote greater commercial cooperation, project links, sharing of expertise and organised visits between the two countries. 

The council is expected to be set up in the first quarter of this year.

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