Peach Aviation (MM, Osaka Kansai) has said it will suspend flights or reduce frequencies between Japan and South Korea as the rift between the two countries deepens, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Eight South Korean carriers including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, and Korea Express Air have already announced reduced services or cancelled routes to neighbouring Japan. But Peach is believed to be the first Japanese airline to respond to the rising tensions and declining numbers of South Koreans making the trip, it said on August 30.

The ANA - All Nippon Airways LCC subsidiary will indefinitely stop services between Sapporo Chitose and Seoul Incheon from October 28, a route that only launched on April 25. Its Osaka Kansai-Busan route will be dropped from January 7, 2020, while Okinawa Naha-Incheon will be suspended next year from January 28 to February 22. The developments are all due to a lack of demand from South Korea, the carrier said.

All three affected routes are daily. Currently, 56 of Peach Aviation's 868 weekly frequencies are to or from South Korea, according to the ch-aviation capacities module. It also links Seoul with both Osaka Kansai (28x weekly frequencies) and Tokyo Haneda (7x weekly), but Seoul-Osaka will be cut to 21x weekly between November 11 and December 8. The Tokyo route remains untouched for now.

Koreans are travelling less to Japan as part of a social media-fuelled travel boycott amid the tensions, sparked when Japan restricted exports of materials necessary for Korea’s high-tech industry, citing national security concerns. "We've taken the decision after holistically judging the situation, including the deteriorating South Korean economy and depreciation of the won," a Peach official said.