OSAKA — Four business lobby groups in the Kansai region should consider merging, a study group said in a report released Monday.

The four groups are Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren), Kansai Association of Corporate Executives (Kansai Keizai Doyukai), Kansai Employers’ Association (Kankeikyo) and Kansai Productivity Center.

The study group, headed by Kozo Shindo, chairman of spinning firm Kurabo Industries Ltd., said the four groups, centered in Osaka, ideally should be merged into one, although they can continue to function independently for the time being.

The study group, which looked into the consolidation of business groups in the region, said the four organizations should work toward integration by eliminating the various committees and projects that are doubled up among them.

Among other business groups in the region, the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Osaka Industrial Association (Osaka Kogyo Kai) plan to merge as early as next April.

The study group was set up in February when Kankeiren Chairman Yoshihisa Akiyama proposed that Kansai’s major business lobbies be reorganized.

But Akiyama later retracted his proposal in the face of opposition from some of the groups, including Kansai Keizai Doyukai and Kankeikyo.

The proposal to reorganize the business lobbies drew attention in January, when Masataka Ide, chairman of West Japan Railway Co., said JR West may leave Kansai Keizai Doyukai and Kankeikyo if they do not merge with Kankeiren.

Ide has said most Kansai business executives believe it is necessary that the lobbies integrate their operations to give the Kansai business community more clout as well as cut costs.

If realized, the reorganization would follow a planned merger in May between the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) and the Japan Federation of Employers Associations (Nikkeiren) to create the Japan Business Federation.

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