• Kyodo

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A local council overseeing the merger of six towns and villages decided Thursday to name the new city Minami-Arupusu.

Minami-Arupusu, written in katakana, will be launched April 1, council members said. It will be the first city with a name in katakana. “Arupusu” is an approximation of the word “alps.”

The Minami-Arupusu area has a view of the Southern Japan Alps. The mountain range includes Kitadake, the country’s second-highest peak, at 3,192 meters.

The council asked residents to submit name suggestions and Minami-Arupusu with 715 entries was the most popular. Komano, the traditional name of the region, was second with 604 votes.

Voters said the name conveys the image of the mountains and it sounds good.

Japan has two towns with katakana names: Niseko in Hokkaido and Makino, Shiga Prefecture.

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