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Taro Aso, minister of internal affairs and communications, said Tuesday that he favors Internet service provider Softbank Corp.’s bid to buy the Daiei Hawks pro baseball club.

“The Hawks have taken root in their home ground of Fukuoka, so it’s desirable if the team can somehow remain there,” he said.

Aso was elected to the Diet from Fukuoka.

Softbank said Monday it hopes to buy the baseball club from struggling owner Daiei Inc. Softbank said it strongly wants to run a baseball business in Fukuoka, where its own business started.

Daiei turned to the state-backed Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan for its rehabilitation last week, meaning the retailer might have to sell the team as part of its turnaround efforts. It has said it wants to retain ownership of the Hawks.

Seiichiro Murakami, minister in charge of industrial revitalization, said the fate of the baseball club “depends on the results of (Daiei’s) asset assessment.”

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