Points With a Crew mentioned plenty of first class award space on Japan Airlines and in particular New York JFK – Tokyo on a handful of dates in February and March.
What’s going on is it seems that first class awards are wide open over the next 6 weeks for both New York and Chicago – Tokyo. Here’s a search of those two routes for two passengers in First in February, for Chicago throughout the month and for New York for the first two thirds of the month.
Availability seems to extend to the first week or so into March:
(As a bonus you’ll also see Japan Airlines first class award space open Los Angeles – Tokyo as well)
When there’s first class available it’s on JAL’s Boeing 777-300ER which has their new first class suites. American charges 62,500 miles each way between the US and Japan (as well as Korea). Make Tokyo your connection and continue on in Asia and first class awards are 67,500 miles each way. (These award prices go up for bookings made March 22 onward.)
Search for Japan Airlines award space using the BA.com British Airways website, note that American’s website doesn’t show JAL award space. I am using Award Nexus to search a month’s availability at a time and display it in calendar format.
Incidentally I find that American Airlines appears to be releasing business and first class awards for at least two passengers Dallas – Tokyo many days in February and then for both Dallas – Tokyo and also Los Angeles – Tokyo on Wednesdays across much of the calendar and indeed many days there are 4 or more award seats.