While low-cost carriers (LCC), also known as no-frills airlines, have since long been successfully operating throughout the U.S., Europe, and southern Asia, Japan has so far seen very little of the low-price action.
The concept behind the LCC is as simple as it has been proved successful – bring prices down by keeping services to a minimum and cutting corners wherever possible.
One of the reasons Japan has seen so few low-cost airlines is that one of the basic concepts is to operate only on shorter stretches to keep expenses at a minimum. Ideal travel time is less than 5-6 hours. For LCCs operating out of Thailand or Singapore, Japan is simply too far away. It is also questionable whether spending more time than that on a no-frills airplane would be a very enjoyable experience.
Japanese travelers should however expect this situation to change in the near future because of a recent surge of interest in the Japanese market from foreign airlines. A big leap forward is expected in 2010 when Tokyo’s Haneda Airport’s fourth runway is expected to stand completed, allowing the airport to open up for more international airlines.
source: Japan News Review