1952 Japan-U.S. Civil Aviation Agreement and bilateral aviation talks between Japan and the U.S.
The 1952 Japan-U.S. Civil Aviation Agreement allowed U.S. airlines to fly to a third country via three Japanese airports with no restrictions (beyond rights), and allowed Japanese carriers to fly six airports in the U.S. and allowed some restricted beyond rights. This 1952 Agreement gave the advantage to American carriers in terms of flexibility in opening new routes. To rectify the imbalance and ease the regulations, the Japanese and U.S. governments had engaged in discussions for a comprehensive revision of the agreement since 1976, but to no avail. The interim agreement, concluded in the 1980s, allowed mainly new companies to enter a limited number of new routes. This had caused a new problem of route imbalance between incumbent and new air carriers. The confrontation between the two countries intensified in the 1990s over the proportion of "beyond" passengers that American carriers picked up at Japanese airports for a third country. The 1995 interim agreement between Japan and the United States partially resolved the problem, but only in the air cargo area.
New Japan-U.S. Civil Aviation Agreement in 1998
The Japanese and U.S. governments originally confronted each other over the proposed introduction of the Open Skies bilateral framework, which would liberalise new entry into the market, air routes, transportation capacities, and airfares. Japan and the United States reached a civil aviation agreement in January 1998. The agreement establishes three Japanese and three U.S. carriers as incumbent ones, and totally liberalised their routes and service frequencies. Five Japanese and five U.S. airlines are also defined as non-incumbent carriers and allowed to increase the service frequency on existing routes between Japan and the U.S. The agreement also adopts a concept of ratio for "beyond" passengers. Under the agreement, code sharing may be conducted between Japanese and U.S. carriers, among U.S. carriers, or among some combination of Japanese, American and third-country carriers. This agreement substantially eased the regulations in the Japan-U.S. aviation framework and rectified the imbalance with the United States in number of routes and airline companies. Another round of negotiations toward further liberalisation is scheduled to begin in three years.