OSAKA — The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Osaka Industrial Association agreed Thursday to merge into a new group on April 1, according to the head of the OCCI.

“We hope to create a powerful group that represents business in Osaka and that promotes the international competitiveness of member companies,” OCCI Chairman Wa Tashiro told a news conference.

The OCCI, which currently has around 35,000 member companies, will be the surviving entity and will retain its name when it merges with the Osaka Industrial Association, which has about 1,200 member companies.

As there are some 840 companies that are members of both groups, the number of members in the surviving organization is expected to rise by around 350, an OCCI spokesman said.

The two groups reached a basic integration agreement in March to lobby the government more forcefully on policy matters.

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