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TOKYO, June 26 (Kyodo) — Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. said Tuesday that their planned merger was approved at their annual shareholders' meetings, clearing the way for the establishment on Oct. 1 of the world's second-largest steelmaker.

The integrated company, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., would be outpaced in output only by Luxembourg's ArcelorMittal. The merger plan has already won approval from the Japan Fair Trade Commission.

Its chairmanship will be assumed by Nippon Steel President Shoji Muneoka and the presidency by Sumitomo Metal President Hiroshi Tomono.

The two companies agreed to a merger in 2011 to better compete with rivals from China and South Korea, following a partnership that began in 2002 in the form of business tie-ups and share crossholdings.

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