S'pore wants to increase number of flights to Japan: PM Lee

PM Lee said Singapore should prepare for when Japan decides to reopen to travellers.

Low Jia Ying | May 23, 2022, 11:41 AM

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore would like to strengthen its air links with Japan, and hopes to increase the number of flights to the country.

PM Lee was speaking in an interview with Nikkei Asia's editor-in-chief, published on May 23, where he highlighted that there is demand in Singapore for such flights.

Singapore should prepare ahead of Japan's reopening

PM Lee said that though Japan still has restrictions on international travel, he believes it will "very soon" change its rules.

"I think we should prepare for that," PM Lee said.

In particular, Singapore would like to increase the number of flights to Haneda, an airport in Tokyo.

Currently, Singapore is just one of four countries in the world involved in a trial scheme where vaccinated and boosted tourists can visit Japan as part of tour groups.

Updating the JSEPA

Besides civil aviation, PM Lee also said that he hoped to update the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA).

Singapore would like to bring the JSEPA, which was established in 2002, up to date.

PM Lee acknowledged that Japan has recently been "preoccupied" with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

"But those are now settled. So I hope that it will now be possible for us to open this subject and discuss upgrading," said PM Lee.

PM Lee: Digital, green economy are areas of cooperation for both countries

PM Lee also discussed other possible areas of cooperation between Japan and Singapore, highlighting the digital economy.

He cited both countries' efforts in developing the digital economy, namely Singapore's Smart Nation initiative and Japan's Digital Garden City Nation Vision.

"I think we can learn from one another to develop smart cities and how to do digital governance, government. Every country in the world is trying to do this. Some like Estonia have gone very far. In Singapore we have several initiatives. Some are further advanced than others but we continue to learn from one another. So that's one."

PM Lee also suggested the green economy as a potential area of cooperation for both countries, especially in alternative energy and developing sustainable economies.

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Top photo via Haneda Airport Facebook.