The NPB's Committee for Minor Leaguers / Rookies met today to discuss the problems of inequality between the Eastern and Western Leagues. The Eastern League currently consists of 7 teams and a mixed team while the Western league is made up of just 5 teams.
It seems the Hanshin Tigers and Softbank Hawks are currently in talks about starting a mixed team that will play games against Independent League teams. The hope is to provide younger players even more chances to gain experience. Assuming there aren't any bumps in their talks moving forwards, their joint team will play their first game on June 9 against the Nagasaki Saints of the Island League at the Gannosu Baseball Grounds in Fukuoka. After that, the joint team is expected to play two more games, around the end of June, against Independent League teams at the Naruohama Baseball Grounds.