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Transport minister Seiji Maehara’s idea of turning Tokyo’s Haneda airport into a 24-hour international hub has sparked controversy. Setting his eye on the completion of Haneda’s fourth runway in October 2010, he wants to make Haneda a hub in East Asia by increasing the number of international flights there.

Since Narita airport opened in 1978, the long-standing aviation policy has been to route most international flights bound for Tokyo to Narita and most domestic flights to Haneda. Mr. Maehara’s idea departs from this policy. (Meanwhile, full operational use of Narita’s extended second runway started last week.)

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