The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry will draw up measures as early as June to promote mergers among cities, towns and villages, sources said Saturday.

The ministry will set up a joint panel with the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications to study factors preventing mergers among municipalities, the sources said.

The policy package is likely to include incentives such as promoting road construction and revitalizing city centers for those willing to merge with other municipalities, they said.

The joint study panel will discuss the kinds of fiscal measures the central government should take to benefit such municipalities.

The central government has thus far provided financial support for road construction and bus services to better link merging municipalities.

The panel will consider various options to meet the varying needs of municipalities of differing sizes that are considering merging.said.

End of an era

URAWA (Kyodo) Ahead of its merger with two neighboring cities on May 1, the city of Urawa on Saturday held a ceremony to mark the end of its 67-year history. The three cities of Urawa, Omiya and Yono will merge to create the new city of Saitama.

Some 2,000 people attended the ceremony to bid farewell to their city, which was created in 1934.

“I cannot help but feel sad about the name of Urawa disappearing. At the same time, however, I feel my heart beating with expectation for the future of our new city,” Mayor Soichi Aikawa said in his speech.

The two other cities will hold similar ceremonies by the end of the month.

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