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Shizuoka airport opened June 4 as the nation’s 98th airport. The immediate future of the airport is not so bright because it started its operation amid a severe economic downturn and the new H1N1 influenza. The Shizuoka prefectural government faces the challenge of increasing the number of air travelers to the prefecture.

The airport’s opening, originally scheduled in March, was delayed after trees near its 2,500-meter runway were found to have exceeded the height limit stipulated by the Aviation Law. In exchange for consent from the landowner to fell the trees, Gov. Yoshinobu Ishikawa announced March 25 that he would resign. For the time being, only a 2,200-meter section of the runway will be used. Full use will begin this fall.

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