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Korean Air to cut flights to Japan as diplomatic row hits demand

Korean Air to cut flights to Japan as diplomatic row hits demand
FILE PHOTO: A Delta Airlines plane flies over a B787-9 belonging to Korean Airlines at Korean Airlines' aviation shed in Incheon, South Korea, February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji -
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Kim Hong-Ji(Reuters)
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SEOUL (Reuters) – Korean Air Lines <003490.KS> will suspend its flights between the South Korean city of Busan and Japan’s Sapporo from Sept. 3 because of falling demand amid a worsening diplomatic and economic row between the two neighbours.

Last month, Japan tightened controls of exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling over wartime forced labour. Such disputes have prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel in South Korea.

Korean Air, South Korea’s top carrier, is also considering cutting the number of flights between the two countries or shifting to smaller aircraft from mid-August, a spokesman said.

Koreans were the second-biggest travellers to Japan only after China, accounting for 24.2% of visits last year, according to data from Japan National Tourism Organisation.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates)

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