In Western Europe, local government organisations evolved substantially from their feudal antecedents. In the United States they derived from townships. With the emergence of nation-states, national government was a relative latecomer for these local organisations. Local autonomy was a product of mutual concessions made during these processes of historical development, at both the centre and periphery. Therefore, the nature of the government systems was local in orientation. By contrast, the state-building of modern Japan was central by nature. In the absence of a powerful urban commercial interest, the homogeneous culture and race gave Meiji leaders a head start to become a modern state in a solidly unified fashion. By abolishing the feudal domains at the local level, the Meiji government attempted to build a single-layered system of central–local relations in its place. The status of local public entities was granted by the central government.