The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has a long-standing reputation in government circles of meddling in the turf of other ministries, and on Mar. 28 it was the posts ministry that felt its toes stepped on.

Posts and Telecommunications Minister Hisao Horinouchi criticized the trade ministry over its call for a review of postal savings, saying it is none of MITI’s business. Horinouchi was referring to a MITI document that urges a review of the postal savings and insurance systems. “I could understand it if the opinion came from the Finance Ministry. MITI should not speak up on matters concerning us because financial issues are out of their jurisdiction,” Horinouchi told a press conference after a Cabinet meeting.

Given the nation’s industrialization and advent of free trade, corporations no longer need assistance and protection from MITI to do business. With the ministry’s original purpose outdated, its bureaucrats survive by frequently poking their noses into the affairs of the various ministries including the Foreign Ministry to find new jobs.

Horinouchi said he has mentioned this situation to MITI chief Shinji Sato. Sato acknowledged that MITI has no control over postal savings, saying the ministry only provided a document to a panel, Horinouchi said.

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