TOKYO - Up to 140 aircraft carrying foreign dignitaries are expected to arrive at Haneda and Narita airports later this month as Japan holds a ceremony to proclaim the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Representatives of more than 190 countries are scheduled to attend the emperor's enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Oct. 22, with commercial air travelers likely to be affected especially on Oct. 21 and 24 when many of the guests arrive and leave the country.
The government plans to have more flights arrive at Haneda in Tokyo than at Narita in Chiba Prefecture, since the former gives better access to the venue, according to the sources.
Among the expected guests are U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and Britain's Prince Charles.
(Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako)
Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, the day after his father, former Emperor Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in over 200 years. The upcoming ceremony is to formally announce his enthronement before foreign and domestic leaders and representatives.
Already Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co., the two major Japanese carriers, have between them decided to cancel a total of 72 flights at Haneda airport on Oct. 21 and 24 to minimize disruptions, and have requested passengers with reservations on the flights affected to switch to different flights.
Arrangements are being made for aircraft carrying representatives from Group of 20 countries to arrive at Haneda airport, the sources said.
Parking aprons will be prepared for around 20 airplanes at each airport, but the aircraft are expected to stand by at regional airports as there will not be enough space at the two airports over the period.