Heizo Takenaka, economy and fiscal policy minister, said Friday he will compile a postal-privatization plan by fall 2004.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi instructed him to do so in a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Takenaka said.

Takenaka said he hopes to draft an interim report by next spring.

“Although it is a very difficult issue and we do not have that much time left,” he said, “I want to run the meetings and compile the plan in a firm manner.”

During the council’s meeting, the first since Koizumi reshuffled his Cabinet on Monday, the prime minister renewed his resolve to push ahead with the privatization of Japan Post services — mail delivery, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance.

“Prime Minister Koizumi told us the issue of privatizing postal services is at the very center of the issues the Cabinet is tasked with,” Takenaka said, “and he told us to go ahead in a resolute manner.”

Koizumi intends to submit a relevant bill to the Diet in 2005 with an eye to privatizing the three postal services in April 2007.

According to Takenaka, Koizumi also told those attending the meeting, “We should let the private sectors do what they are capable of. Privatizing the postal services is a symbol of that idea.”

Many Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers with vested interests in such services strongly oppose the idea.

Japan Post was set up April 1 as a public corporation to take over the Postal Services Agency’s postal services.

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