Shinzo Abe Japan State Funeral: Business Aviation Planning Guide

PT 2 M minute read

Japan announced that on Sept. 27, 2022, the country would hold a state funeral for assassinated former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo. The event is expected to draw a large contingent of international dignitaries and is expected to impact business aviation operations to the country.

Although Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has not yet released operating requirements, we believe that restrictions will be similar to what was put in place in the 2019 Emperor’s Enthronement ceremony.

If you’re planning to attend the funeral or operate to Japan during this period, here’s what you need to know. We will keep this article updated as new information is released and official requirements are published.

Prior events provide a framework of likely restrictions

Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) has not yet released the number of state/charter VIP aircraft expected to visit Japan for the funeral. Based on history, including the 2019 Emperor’s Enthronement and the funeral of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in 2000, approximately 150 state/charter VIP aircraft is likely.

For the Emperor’s Enthronement, parking at Haneda (RJTT) and Narita (RJAA) was limited to approx. 50 aircraft, so roughly 100 visiting aircraft were forced to reposition to other airports.

Likely airspace restrictions

The following is our best “guess” for airspace restrictions based on similar previous events. We will update this once the official restrictions are published.

  • Likely Restriction Period: From 26 September 2022 0000JST to 30 September 2022 0000JST
  • Likely Restriction Zone: 25nm radius of the imperial palace (35°42’ 1”N, 139°45’ 15”N)
  • Exceptions: Aircraft engaged in the security of this airspace or aircraft specially-approved by ATC to enter this airspace.

For details on current airspace restrictions for Japan, check our Feasibility-IQ app.

Likely airport restrictions

The following is our best “guess” for airport restrictions based on similar previous events. We will update this once the official restrictions are published.

  • Restriction Period: From September 24 (Saturday) to September 30 (Friday). During this period, Primary Restricted Airport Tokyo/Haneda International (RJTT): Our Universal Aviation Japan office has preliminary information that from September 24 (Saturday) to September 30 (Friday) RJTT will not accept GA operations even if we apply for slots/parking. (It is likely that only state/charter aircraft to visit for State Funeral can be available to RJTT.)
  • Other Restricted Airports: We assume that Narita International (RJAA), Kansai International (RJBB), Chubu Centrair International (RJGG), New Chitose (RJCC) will also be subjected to restrictions due to overnight parking for state/charter aircraft.  Highest priority will be given to VIP flights carrying government officials and other official guests of the ceremony, with the highest concentration of traffic at Tokyo-metro airports Haneda and Narita.

For details on current restrictions for any airport in Japan, check our Feasibility-IQ app.

Drop-and-Go Options

At the other airports listed, you may be limited to drop-and-go only, as overnight parking will be consumed by VIP aircraft–especially during the beginning and ending of the funeral.

For overnight options during these periods, you may want to consider repositioning to airports outside of Japan like Gimpo International (RKSS) in Seoul, South Korea–which is just an hour flight away.

We’re ready to help you.

Universal Aviation Japan and our Universal Trip Support teams are ready to help you find your best options for operating to Japan during this high-traffic period.

Got a question for Hiroshi about this article?