The Japanese government on Tuesday said it is moving to tighten restrictions on Chinese travel to Japan, and its cabinet is to consider measures to reduce air pollution in the country.
The Cabinet is to meet on Thursday to decide on whether to enact measures, including banning foreign airlines from offering domestic flights and restricting Japanese nationals to travel on Chinese airlines.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it will issue a statement to the cabinet on Thursday outlining the steps it plans to take to tackle the pollution in China.
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has been grappling with the sharp spike in air pollution and health problems linked to the choking smog, which can last days at a time.
On Wednesday, the government issued a blanket ban on foreign airlines, saying it would ban all commercial flights within Japan for the next five days.
In its statement, the ministry said the government is taking steps to reduce the air pollution caused by Chinese flights in Japan, including restricting their use to flights operated by foreign airlines.
It also said the new regulations would be applied to all flights originating from China, with exceptions for domestic flights operated on Chinese carriers.
The statement did not specify what measures would be taken to curb Chinese air traffic in Japan.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhang Baohua, said in an emailed statement that the country is firmly opposed to restrictions on domestic air travel.
He also said that Japan is not going to allow the country to experience any pollution from the Chinese aircrafts, which he said are not safe.
Zhang said China will not be satisfied with any measures aimed at suppressing pollution from Chinese air carriers.
China is also the world leader in carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants, and Beijing is battling climate change with the aim of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
China, which emits nearly all of the world emissions, said earlier this month that it would spend $1 trillion ($1.5 trillion) on climate-related initiatives in the next 10 years.
In recent years, China has tightened restrictions on international travel to China.
The ban has been in place since early December, when China started to restrict flights from a number of European countries, including Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
A ban was also imposed on Chinese passengers from several European countries.
China’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on Tuesday saying that its government will “respond to any Chinese restrictions on air travel, including through the issuance of additional regulations, including those aimed at combating pollution and air quality.”
In response, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said it was not considering any additional measures at the moment, but it would be in line with the existing agreements to prevent the importation of goods from China.