Liquids & gels now permitted in carry-on baggage

A major irritant to international travelers is about to change tomorrow, as bans on gels and liquids are being modified to restrictions easier to live with.

Carry-on restrictions for passengers on international flights from and passing through Japan will now be allowed to have liquids and gels, subject to restrictions imposed by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.  Starting tomorrow, passengers who until now have been banned from having bottles, jars or tubes containing more than 100ml of gels or liquids will be allowed to take them aboard, if they’re in “security tamper-proof bags” that are clear plastic and designed to safely contain liquids and gels.

Officials say the liquids and gels in these bags will be put through special screening before boarding the aircraft.  The Japanese decision is in line with a loosening of baggage controls that were tightened in 2006 following a terrorist plot linking an aircraft flying from Great Britain to the United States.  Europe, the United States and South Korea have already relaxed the rules.

Japanese officials say this is the first step toward abolishing the restrictions completely.  A test will begin at Narita International Airport, which if successful will end restrictions which annoy travelers.  Narita International has several hundred cases a month where customs officials are required to confiscate items such as liquors and wines, even those purchased at a duty free shop in another country.

Domestic flights in Japan have no restrictions or limitations on the size and volume of liquids and gels in carry-on luggage, officials note, so long as none of them are deemed hazardous.