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The government may relax a requirement that any messenger service entering the mail-delivery sector deliver express parcels within three hours, posts minister Toranosuke Katayama said Friday.

The requirement is included in a bill currently being debated in the Diet.

Some motorbike-messenger firms that are considering entering the mail-delivery market have complained about the rule, saying they may not be able to meet such a tight deadline during certain times in congested Tokyo.

Katayama, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, said the government may be able to issue “a flexible response” after it investigates the matter.

In May, the government submitted a package of four bills to the Diet to open the way for private courier and trucking firms to start offering mail services.

The two main purposes of the bills are to establish a new public corporation in 2003 to take over the three government-run postal services of mail, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance — and to allow private firms to enter the mail-delivery market.

The government divides the prospective mail-delivery market into two categories, one for delivering standard mail across the nation and another for express-messenger services in specific areas.

The government plans to place several conditions on entrants, including delivery within three days for nationwide mail.

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