The government announced on Thursday that it had decided to ban planes operated by any Belarusian airline from landing in Japan after the eastern European country forced a civilian plane to land and arrested a dissident journalist on board the last month.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government would also advise Japanese airlines to avoid flying over Belarus, given that the country’s action last month likely violated the Civil Aviation Convention. international.
File photo shows journalist Roman Protasevich. (NurPhoto / Getty / Kyodo)
The ban on arrivals of Belarusian planes is symbolic because Japan and Belarus have no direct air connection. This follows a decision by the European Union last week to ban Belarusian airlines from flying over EU airspace or using its airports.
“We strongly condemn the forced landing of a civilian plane and the arbitrary arrest of a specific passenger on board by the Belarusian authorities, and we demand the immediate release of the arrested journalist,” Kato said at a conference. regular press.
The Japanese move also came after foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries condemned Belarus’ action.
On May 23, Belarusian authorities hijacked a Ryanair plane to Minsk and arrested dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, who was on board, sparking international outcry.
Protasevich is one of the founders of the online news service NEXTA, which broadcast footage of the mass protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last year.
The major Japanese airline All Nippon Airways Co. has already followed an advice from the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency to avoid flying over Belarus. Japan’s other major international airline, Japan Airlines Co., said it did not have air routes over the European country.
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