Overseas bound passengers from Naha exceed 70,000
According to Ministry of Justice figures, 72,751 Japanese passengers left for overseas destinations from Naha Airport in 2015 that is a 9.7-percent increase from a year ago, and the largest number in the past 10 years.
Officials at the ministry cite the addition of new international air routes to and from Naha since 2013 as the main reason for the increase.
At the end of fiscal 2012, there were 49 international flights each week to and from Naha on 5 routes to Taipei, Soul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taichung. The number of flights increased significantly in fiscal 2014, at the end of which there were 121 international flights per week on 9 routes. According to Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau, there are now 180 international flights per week serving 11 routes, as of Aug. 1st.
The number of Japanese passengers bound overseas from Naha Airport was 60,877 in 2012. In 2013, the combination of weak yen and fewer tours to China and South Korea because of the political problems involving Senkaku Islands and Takeshima Island, caused the number to decrease to 57,516.
Junichi Miyashima, an adviser at JTB Okinawa, points out that the number of overseas-bound passengers from Naha Airport is only 5% of the Okinawa residents that currently stands at about 1,430,000. He says that it’s also important to increase the number out-bound passengers from Okinawa. Miyashima suggests school excursions to foreign countries should be increased, as well as international interaction of public junior high and high schools.