Tokyo responded to Beijing's abandonment of its “COVID zero” strategy; reducing the number of passengers, limiting points of entry and requiring all passengers arriving from China to be tested for COVID-19.
The rules for travelers from Hong Kong are not as strict, but airlines have been prohibited from increasing the number of flights beyond which they already operated during the week of December 23-29.
As for Hong Kong's largest airline, Cathay Pacific, it said last Thursday that it would be limited to operating 65 flights a week between Hong Kong and Japan.
However, as a result of high-level diplomatic negotiations, Japan has agreed not to further limit flights from Hong Kong to four designated airports where passenger screening will be enhanced.
Airlines will still be able to fly to all cities in Japan provided that travelers who “checked in” in the Chinese mainland for the past seven days, are not on board.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it is “actively communicating with the Japanese authorities and earnestly asking the Japanese authorities to lift the relevant restrictions.” The authorities “consider that the restriction on passenger flights departing from Hong Kong is unreasonable and have asked Japanese officials to lift the restriction.”