Japan Post to delay entry into cancer coverage amid U.S. worry

Kyodo

Japan Post Insurance Co., one of the key arms of the government-backed Japan Post Holdings Co., will delay its entry into the cancer insurance field amid the U.S. industry’s misgivings about such a move, a Japan Post official said Wednesday.

Japan Post’s envisaged entry into the domestic cancer insurance market, which is dominated by U.S. insurers, “must not obstruct” Japan’s participation in U.S.-led multilateral talks on joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact, the official said. Participation in the TPP talks requires consent from all countries involved.

Business would also likely be tough in the field, where even major Japanese insurers have had a hard time fighting off U.S. competitors, the official added.

Given the situation, Japan Post Insurance will concentrate on improving its educational endowment and other existing policies for the time being, according to the insurer. The arm has extensive nationwide access to potential customers in the over-the-counter market.

On April 27, the Diet enacted a law to rethink the full privatization of government-backed postal services. The revision to the 2005 privatization law stipulates that the banking and insurance entities can launch new services after the government sells half of its shareholdings.