OSAKA — Local government and business leaders in the Kansai region met Thursday with senior transport ministry officials to discuss the future of the area’s three airports.

The issue has become a topic of debate since last fall, when transport minister Chikage Ogi indicated that Osaka airport in the city of Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, would be downsized, a move seen by observers as an indication that the national government wants to direct more air traffic to Kansai International Airport and an airport under construction off Kobe.

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