An advisory panel to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Friday compiled a final report featuring three plans for the future privatization of the nation’s postal services.
The report, virtually unchanged from a final draft released Aug. 27, was submitted to Koizumi at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence later in the day.
The prime minister has declared postal services reform the centerpiece of his structural reform drive.
“The report is designed to provide simulations of sorts for when postal services are privatized in the future,” Naoki Tanaka, panel chief and economic critic, told reporters after Friday’s meeting.
The first plan is to privatize the three core postal services of mail delivery, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance without making any changes to the system.
The second plan calls for either abolishing or scaling down financial operations, while the third plan envisages the creation of a special company wholly owned by the government. The panel gave each of the plans roughly equal weighting.
The final report comes about 1 1/2 months after the Diet enacted legislation for postal services reforms July 24.
The laws, to take effect April 1, will turn the Postal Services Agency into a state-run corporation and allow private firms to enter the mail delivery business.
The laws, however, place strict conditions on would-be mail delivery operators, requiring them to provide the same services as the current public system. As a result, no companies have expressed willingness to enter the ordinary mail delivery field.
The panel lauded the liberalization moves as a step forward, noting that the current system, where huge amounts of money are channeled to the government through the postal savings and kampo arms, could hurt the economy.
Last month, Koizumi defied opponents by choosing a member of the private-sector — Masaharu Ikuta, chairman of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. — to serve as the first head of the new public corporation.
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