A Liberal Democratic Party panel on postal reforms has drafted a six-point report criticizing four postal service deregulation bills currently being debated in the Diet, a senior LDP lawmaker said Thursday.

“We have to amend them,” said Hiroyuki Arai, head of the public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications division of the LDP’s Policy Research Council.

One of the bills in question would allow private firms to offer mail services, although only under onerous conditions, while another would see the establishment of a new public corporation in 2003 to take over the three state-run postal services — mail, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance.

Arai said one of the problems with the bills is they lack institutional guarantees on a clause requiring new entrants to offer nationwide mail delivery services at uniform rates, as the state-run postal service currently does. Another problem, arai said, is that the bills do not pre-empt a reduction in the number of post offices or mail boxes if the proposed public corporation runs into financial trouble.

Some private transportation firms, including Yamato Transport Co., have abandoned plans to enter the mail delivery business because of the burdensome requirements on new entrants.

Postal service privatization is one of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s pet structural reform projects.

It is opposed by many lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition camps who have vested interests in the current postal system.

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