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Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Seiji Maehara said Sunday it is important to maintain Osaka airport although its functions should be downscaled and integrated with those of Kansai International Airport.

“It’s crucial to secure the continued existence of Itami although (aircraft using the airport) should become smaller,” Maehara said after inspecting Kansai airport in Osaka Bay earlier in the day. Osaka airport, located in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, and part of the Osaka Prefecture cities of Toyonaka and Ikeda, is often called Itami.

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