The business aviation market in Japan remains largely untapped and so far relatively underdeveloped. Only a handful business aircraft are owned and used in Japan. Despite Japan’s economic power and global business activities, Japanese companies continue to face regulatory, logistical, cultural, and attitudinal hurdles to using business aircraft to visit customers or company facilities worldwide.
The key factor impeding the development of Japan’s business aviation sector is the complicated regulatory environment. Without a history of business aircraft use, Japan’s business aircraft must essentially adhere to a regime designed for airline-operated commercial airplanes. A nearly insignificant local market also poses a “chicken-and-egg” dilemma. Without a critical mass of business jets to maintain and service, cost-effective infrastructure (including fuel, maintenance, spare parts, parking, pilot training, pilot available, insurance, and a multitude of other factors) cannot develop, and without a cost-effective infrastructure to support them, business jets cannot proliferate to a critical mass.
However, there are many small and gradual but very definite signs of progress. In September 2010, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) introduced major changes involving business aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Deregulation at the gateway airport to the Japan’s capital will provide tangible benefits to international business aviation, and may thus provide a stepping-stone for the development of the business aviation market in Japan.
Despite Japan’s economic power and global business activities, the business aviation market in Japan is surprisingly small. Despite a “global standard” showing a correlation between economic clout and business jet use, demand remains low. Japan is an outlier in the global business jet ownership and use category