The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will ask the U.S. military to open Yokota Air Base to commercial flights for the 2002 World Cup soccer finals, which will be jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea, officials said.

The metropolitan government will request temporary use of the western Tokyo air base as a step toward having U.S. military facilities removed from the nation’s capital, the officials said Monday.

The use of the base is one of the metro government’s requests concerning the compilation of the fiscal 2001 national budget.

In September, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara called on Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to get the cooperation of the U.S. government in using the base for the World Cup finals.

Other budget requests include compensation for local taxes from which foreign embassies are exempted.

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