FUKUSHIMA--On Nov. 19, for the first time since the earthquake eight months ago, international tourists flew direct to Fukushima Airport from Taiwan.
International services at the airport had been suspended since the March 11 disaster.
Many countries and regions still caution travelers to avoid trips to Japan because of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The TransAsia Airways aircraft arrived at 9:50 a.m. with almost a full load of passengers, numbering 178 individuals from Taiwan.
They are set to travel around the prefecture's Aizu district.
Passengers were welcomed in the airport lobby by prefecture's mascot character "Kibitan," as well as local officials, who handed each traveler with a key holder of "akabeko" (nodding red cow), the mascot of the Aizu district.
"Aizu, a district away from the nuclear power plant, is safe," said Li Shujie, 37. "I look forward to eating ramen."
Fukushima Airport, which straddles Tamagawa village and Sukagawa city, accepted five regular flights weekly from Shanghai and Inchon, South Korea, before the March 11 earthquake.
Dozens of charter flights also operated, but all services were suspended after the quake.
There is no prospect of restoring regular flight services at the airport, officials said.
"We wanted to support Fukushima's reconstruction," said an official of the Japanese branch of TransAsia Airways, explaining the charter flight from Taiwan.
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