Japanese Prime Minster Funeral: Tokyo Restrictions



Japan is hosting a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on September 27.

While airport operations should not be disrupted to the extent London airports have been for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral (a noise thing), you can expect some disruptions (a capacity thing).

The Funeral

The funeral will take place on September 27th, in Tokyo. 

Around 190 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend and RJTT/Haneda will likely be accommodating the majority of flights coming in for it.

Ground disruption

Activists are planning to hold protests in the city on the same day, and will most likely gather at major public spaces. 

This probably won’t include airports given the higher levels of security, and more restricted access at them. Security across the city will be increased though, with additional check points in place, and police monitoring.

Ground transport delays are therefore likely, and access across the city is probably going to be reduced.

Airport Disruptions

There are no planned restrictions for scheduled commercial flights into RJTT/Haneda or RJAA/Narita, in fact the Japanese CAB (Civil Aviation Bureau) are yet to release any specific restrictions.

However, previous ceremonies have resulted in restrictions, and restrictions which particularly impact General/Business Aviation so here’s what we think might happen:

  • Loads of visiting dignitaries means loads of visiting aircrafts which means loads less parking and handling capacity for other aircraft.
  • From Sep 24-29, no non-commercial or general aviation will be accommodated at RJTT/Haneda unless approved though diplomatic channels.
  • It is a big event which is already generating good and bad reactions in Japan, so security is going to be higher, which means some airspace restrictions may be put into place. You can definitely expect something like a 25nm radius around the Imperial Palace as a prohibited area.
  • More restrictions at the already busy RJAA/Narita. Mostly night ones (2300-0559 local type things).

Tokyo is a huge city made up of loads of smaller cities, with the imperial palace sort of in the middle

Other options

Narita and Haneda aren’t your only two airports. You have a few more worth looking at.

And remember Japan has an amazing high speed train so it’s easy to get from airport to airport.

Our top picks. (There are others though!)

RJCC/Sapporo New Chitose Two 3000m runways, all equipped with ILS approaches (CAT II/III on the southerly direction runways). But, it has construction going on, so a lot of stuff is unserviceable. Check notams and temporary charts before heading in here.

RJBB/Kansai Two 4000m runways, CAT II equipped, and all they have amusing “human” names for a lot of their arrivals and departures. Another one with works on though so look out.

RJGG/Nagoya Chubu A 3500m runway, CAT II/III equipped.

RJSS/Sendai 3000m runway, CAT I both ends.

These all have restrictions on overnight parking with priority given to VIP flights.

What about the Covid entry rules?

Ah yes, we almost forgot! Japan’s Covid-related entry rules are different for passengers and crew.

For passengers: you can check the (fairly straightforward) info on entry rules on the official website here.

For crew: technically, the rules are written here, but with some extra info supplied from local agents, here’s the lowdown:

  • To avoid hotel quarantine, crew who have been in a ‘blue’ listed country within the past 14 days need to be either vaccinated (3 doses) or get a PCR test issued within 72hrs of departure. Crew who have been in ‘yellow’ countries must be vaccinated – they don’t have the option of a PCR test. You can see the list of yellow countries here.
  • Crew don’t need to complete the form at the MySOS site, and they don’t need to get a visa in advance – they get issued a shore pass on arrival.

If you need the help of a local handling agent in Japan, we recommend you get in touch with Aeroworks at fltops@aeroworks.jp


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Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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