Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday proposed sending a team to a German postal firm to observe privatized postal services.

The proposal is apparently intended to help create a more favorable mood for the privatization of postal services, one of the prime minister’s pet projects.

Former government minister Kiyoshi Mizuno, an active supporter of the project, quoted Koizumi as describing the plan to Klaus Zumwinkel, chairman of the board of management at Deutsche Post AG, in a meeting at Koizumi’s office.

Zumwinkel promised Koizumi he would help the delegation survey privatized postal services and that lawmakers opposing Koizumi’s project would also be welcome, Mizuno said.

Koizumi, however, mentioned no time frame for the plan, Mizuno said.

Mizuno formerly headed the Management and Coordination Agency, one of the predecessors of the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.

Deutsche Post is a private company established from a governmental body through a public cooperation, a process Japan is seeking in the project to deregulate its postal services.

The meeting came after a package of bills related to deregulating the services was submitted to the Diet earlier this month.

The bills are aimed at allowing private firms to begin offering mail services and to establish a new public corporation in 2003 to take over mail, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance.

For Koizumi, who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, privatizing the postal services is a key pillar of his structural reform scheme.

But some LDP members with vested interests in the sector have stiffly opposed privatization. Lawmakers have yet to begin debate on the bills and it is uncertain whether the Diet can pass them before the current session ends June 19, as Koizumi wishes.

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