The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry on Friday urged seven government ministries and agencies to simplify approval procedures for private businesses in a total of 79 areas as part of deregulation efforts.

The instruction was forwarded by Toranosuke Katayama, public management minister, after the ministry identified areas where deregulation has been slow, ministry officials said.

A three-year deregulation plan adopted by the Cabinet in March 2001 called for a simplification of procedures and requirements for government approval for private-sector businesses.

One area covered by the latest instruction concerns applications filed by financial institutions when they shut down automated teller machines. At present, financial institutions are required to submit transaction records involving machines that are not necessarily important.

Reports on long-suspended projects by railway companies and on changes in customs-clearance executives by transportation companies are also on tap for simplification.

As for the proposed deregulation to allow private entities to enter into postal services, Katayama said at a regular news conference Friday that the government plans to set up a panel to discuss ways to maintain transparency in government approval.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told him to ensure transparency in approval procedures, Katayama said.

Rules concerning government approval for maintaining transparency in the postal field will be written into law.

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