Times Staff and Wire Reports

Japan, U.S. Taking Hard Line on Air Routes: In a retaliatory move, Japan's Transport Ministry said it will allow Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines to operate 21 of their flights between Japan and the United States only until April 1. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation said it would renew a Japan Airlines license for 168 days, to April 1. JAL has said its license extensions used to be granted in 179-day blocks. The discord was triggered when United Airlines asked Washington in September to either allow the JAL license to run for only 120 days, or until air-cargo trade talks between Tokyo and Washington ended. United complained after Tokyo delayed approving its request to add a Seoul leg to some existing flights in Japan. Tokyo and Washington are holding talks to decide on a new framework for air-cargo transport.

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