3,700 Chinese tourists cancel Okinawa trips

Some 3,700 mainland Chinese tourists have cancelled trips to Okinawa Prefecture amid deteriorating Japan-China relations over disputed islands located in the southern part of the prefecture in the East China Sea.

Okinawa officials said Okinawa trip cancellations have surged since the Japanese government’s nationalization of three the five East China Sea islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, on Sept. 11th, the officials said, adding the southern prefecture sees almost no travel bookings by mainland Chinese for October and later.  Also according to the officials, China Eastern Airlines has reduced its round trip service on the Shanghai-Naha route from 12 to 7 flights a week until the end of October, and Hainan Airlines, which was operating two round trip flights a week on its Beijing-Naha route, has suspended the services on the route until late October.

Previously, tourists from mainland China to Okinawa decreased markedly in the wake of the 2010 incident in which a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japan Coast Guard ships near the Senkaku islands. It took some four months for the number of the Chinese tourists to recover to pre-incident levels.