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Tokyo govt, Ogasawara discuss proposed opening of air route

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Tokyo metropolitan government and the village of Ogasawara held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposed opening of an air route to the Ogasawara Islands.

The meeting was arranged after Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said on June 30 that the runway of a new airport in the village should be up to 1,000 meters long, shorter than the originally proposed 1,200 meters, in consideration of possible impacts on the ecosystem.

Access to the islands, about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, is currently limited to a 24-hour journey on a ferry that operates about once a week.

At the day’s meeting, the two sides agreed to consider building the airport in the Suzaki district of Chichijima, the main island of the Ogasawara chain.

Metropolitan government officials said the environmental impacts would be smaller with a 1,000-meter runway because the amount of soil generated from land preparation would be 80 percent less than with a 1,200-meter runway.

A 48-seat propeller plane that an aircraft maker plans to develop by 2020 looks good for the envisioned route, the officials also said.

The Tokyo islands boast a rich natural environment and won UNESCO World Natural Heritage status in 2011.Speech

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