Around Asia: Flights between Seoul and Fukushima cancelled


Asiana Airlines said it was canceling charter flights between Seoul and Fukushima in Japan from October as radiation fears escalate.

The carrier, South Korea’s second-largest, announced Wednesday it would suspend its two return flights to Fukushima after a lease deal expires at the end of September.

“The service will be halted in October and a decision will then be taken on whether to extend the cancellation depending on conditions,” an Asiana spokeswoman told AFP.

Public concerns over contamination levels in Fukushima mounted after the prefecture’s crippled nuclear plant was said to have been leaking tons of highly radioactive water.

Since then, the number of South Korean visitors to Fukushima has reportedly declined.

“Passengers are clearly anxious and we are paying close attention to all reports on nuclear reactor pollution levels at Fukushima,” the spokeswoman said.

The city, around 600 kilometers (37 miles) from the nuclear facility devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, is a popular destination for tourists visiting nearby local hot springs and golf courses.

Asiana said the weakening yen against the won has also reduced the number of Japanese tourists traveling to South Korea.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis has been dubbed the worst since Chernobyl.

by Maesie Bertumen

Photo: Ikarasawa/Flickr



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