The Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson has forecast a 25% increase in passenger numbers between Australia and Japan by 2020.  Accelerating this increase is a new bilateral agreement signed between Australia and Japan this week.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese announced a new open skies agreement between Australia and Japan.  Under the terms of the agreement Australian and Japanese airlines will now be able to offer daily direct flights between Australia and Tokyo's Haneda Airport.  All capacity restrictions have been lifted between Australian and Japanese airports immediately with the exception of Tokyo's Narita Airport.  The capacity restriction on Narita Airport will be lifted in 14 months time, from the start of 2013.

Currently one million people fly between Australia and Japan each year.  Additionally ,each year, more than $3 billion of air cargo is transported between the two countries.  The Australia Japan market is the eighth largest aviation market for Australia and contibutes about $1.2 billion to the Australian tourism industry.  The new agreement is  forecast to boost these numbers by allowing Australian airlines to fly beyond Japan to third countries for the first time, including key markets such as China and Europe. for more information.