The New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange will launch an alliance today that could set the two markets on the path to an eventual merger.

The agreement calls for the exchanges to cooperate on joint developments, such as financial products, mutual listings and technology. Further, it sets into motion the possibility of a true combination once Japan's biggest stock exchange becomes a public company in 2009.

The AP reports that the pact between the two exchanges was confirmed by the Tokyo Stock Exchange late Tuesday, with details to be announced at a news conference Wednesday morning in New York.

This deal is the latest iteration of the consolidation of domestic and global exchanges, highlighted by the NYSE Group's ( NYX) acquisition of Euronext.

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