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Japan’s 22 ministries and agencies will be reorganized into either 13 or 15 by January 2001, with a new Economic Ministry to be created by a merger of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the monetary policy division of the Finance Ministry, according to a draft plan being discussed by a blue-ribbon panel.

Under the plan, prepared by the Administrative Reform Council led by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, the broadcast and information/communication divisions of the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry will be combined with the Transport Ministry to become the Transport and Communications Ministry. The draft still does not touch on the question of whether or not the three postal services provided by the ministry — postal, postal savings and insurance — should be privatized.

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