Japanese presence growing in city

The announcement of direct flights between Bengaluru and Tokyo underlines the importance of India’s Silicon Valley in that country’s scheme of things

The direct flight from Bengaluru to Tokyo will be nine hours long.

Japan Airlines has announced daily non-stop flights between Tokyo and Bengaluru from next year. The announcement underlines the growing presence of Japanese companies in Bengaluru, and the potential for tourism. Takayuki Kitagawa, consulate-general of Japan in Bengaluru, says, “It wasn’t a sudden decision. Our ambassador in Delhi and I have been in talks with JAL and All Nippon Airways to start direct flights to Bengaluru.”

Given that Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India, it has great potential for growth, he says. The direct flights will also help tourism, and create ample opportunities for people of the two countries to explore new destinations, he told Metrolife.  

“We also have great access to American cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Texas. The growth of the start-up culture is immense in San Francisco and Texas. About 30 per cent of these start-up companies are established by Indian CEOs; and 20 per cent come from Bengaluru,” says Takayuki.

This shows there is a great need for Indians to travel to these cities. The new flight will enable people to travel not just to Tokyo but also to cities in the US easily, he says.

To travel from Tokyo to Bengaluru, it now takes 14 hours (including the waiting time in Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong). This, the diplomat says, used to discourage people from coming to Bengaluru. “But, this is going to change now. The direct flights take just nine hours,” he says.    

It wasn’t a sudden decision. Our ambassador in Delhi and I have been in talks with JAL and All Nippon Airways to start direct flights to Bengaluru. -Takayuki Kitagawa, consulate general of apan in Bengaluru.

With the presence of Japanese companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi, Bengaluru now sees a huge population of Japanese professionals. With the launch of the new flights, Takayuki says, tourists too will have easy access to Bengaluru.

Five years ago, Japanese companies in Karnataka numbered about 200 and the Japanese population was about 600. Currently, the state has 530 Japanese establishments and the Japanese population adds up to about 1,300.

“This growth has also led to the increase in Japanese restaurants,” he says. Bengaluru has 30 Japanese restaurants. With the launch of the direct flights, Takayuki hopes to see an increase in the investment in the manufacturing sector.

“The government of Karnataka needs to improve the infrastructure in the industrial townships. That would boost more Japanese manufacturing units to come up and also give
employment opportunities to local communities,” he says.

Shinya Naruse, Regional Manager, JAL, Delhi says, “Passenger traffic travelling from India to Japan has definitely gone up in the last two years, with 1,25,438 in 2017 to 1,43,800 in 2018. Travellers now transit through Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong when traveling to Japan.”

So will JAL make in-flight announcements in Kannada, as Lufthansa does? “Currently, plans on cabin service are still under review,” he says.

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