Postmasters to back LDP in summer poll

Kyodo

The national postmasters association has decided to endorse the Liberal Democratic Party in this summer’s Upper House election, eight years after deserting it over the postal privatization initiative championed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, sources said.

The association, known as Zentoku, is a potent lobby that will give the LDP a significant boost. A candidate supported by the group garnered around 400,000 votes in the proportional representation section of the 2010 House of Councilors election.

Before privatization, Taijukai, an association of families of postmasters and retired postmasters, was considered the LDP’s “most powerful vote-gathering machine.” The Zentoku endorsement will pave the way for Taijukai to back the LDP again.

Active postmasters are barred from political activities by the National Civil Service Law.

In response to the postal privatization drive, the postmasters deserted the LDP and threw their support behind its defectors, who formed Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) for the 2005 election.

Kokumin Shinto became a junior coalition partner of the Democratic Party of Japan after the DPJ ousted the LDP in the historic 2009 general election.

Under the DPJ-led government, the Diet enacted a law requiring a review of the full privatization of the government’s postal services, allowing the state to retain influence over the huge banking and insurance arms.