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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tuesday he has told a key minister that he wants a set of four postal deregulation bills to pass the Diet without amendments — a move that should provoke further political wrangling over the controversial legislation.

Koizumi told reporters he issued the directive during a meeting with Toranosuke Katayama, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications.

He had previously hinted he would consider amending the bills to secure their passage.

Koizumi has repeatedly stated his intent to seek passage of the bills by the July 31 end of the current Diet session.

He has also dubbed the bills “a milestone” in the process of privatizing postal services of mail, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance.

One bill would allow private firms to begin offering mail services under certain conditions, while another would see the establishment of a new public corporation in 2003 to take over the three government-run postal services.

The issue of postal service deregulation is highly charged as there are many lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition blocs with vested interests in the sector.

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