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Federal Express to open Naha route

Date Posted: 1998-07-24

The world's largest parcel service, Federal Express will add Naha to its regular stops, beginning the end of August. Naha will be the third airport in Japan directly serviced by FedEx. In welcoming the company's decision, Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota hailed the opening of the route as a big step towards establishing Okinawa as a truly international region.

Although prefecture officials have strong dreams about Naha becoming one of the Asian hubs in Fedex's network, company officials don't see such a thing to happen soon. "It will be difficult to take such a step anytime soon, because commerce and industry sectors in Okinawan economy are relatively weak," a FedEx Japan executive commented. In the longer term, the prospects may not be so bleak, though. "Okinawa's location in relation to southeast Asian countries has many advantages in the long run, and the level of education of the people here is very high," another FedEx official said.

Still, optimism among prefecture officials runs high. "In many regions, FedEx has given a big boost to the cities they operate from, we hope that the same will happen here," a Naha Airport official said.

Federal Express got permission to use Naha Airport in June. The company plans to establish a network of Narita - Okinawa - Kansai - overseas by August 31 using five airplanes.

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