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The number of Japan’s cities, towns and villages could be slashed from the current 3,229 to as few as 600 if merger plans that some two-thirds of all prefectures have drawn up are fully implemented, and if the remaining prefectures compile similar plans, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday.

Kyodo calculated the reduction by examining merger plans drawn up by 32 of the country’s 47 prefectures and applying the eyed 80.5 percent cut in the number of municipalities to the whole nation.

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