Flush with his sweeping victory in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed Friday to privatize postal services in April 2007.

In a speech to kick off the extraordinary Diet session, Koizumi reiterated that a blueprint for privatizing the three services — mail delivery, postal savings and life insurance — will be drawn up by next autumn and bills submitted to the Diet in 2005.

By citing a specific timetable for the first time in the legislature, Koizumi emphasized his resolve to incorporate the plan into the LDP’s platform for the next general election, which is expected to be held in November.

Also with an eye to the election, Koizumi stressed the nation’s improved economic indicators, including a rise in capital investment and gross domestic product figures that have turned to positive growth in both real and nominal terms.

“Reforms have finally begun to show results,” Koizumi said. “Under my new (Cabinet) lineup, I will nurture the buds of reforms into big trees by sticking to my agenda.”

The overall tone of Koizumi’s speech was much stronger than the one he gave at the opening of the ordinary Diet session in January, when he admitted his reforms had only come half way and more time was needed before they produced results.

Koizumi also pledged to privatize the public expressway operators in April 2005, to create 3 million new jobs in the next two years and cut local government subsidies by 4 trillion yen by fiscal 2006.

As a specific goal of the extraordinary session, Koizumi vowed to have the Diet pass a bill to extend the nation’s antiterrorism law by two years. The law, enacted in 2001, allows Self-Defense Forces elements to provide logistic support for the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism in and around Afghanistan.

“Two years have passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., but the fight against terrorism is not over,” Koizumi said. “We seek to prevent and eradicate terrorism by cooperating with the international community.”

The extraordinary session is scheduled to end Oct. 31, but Koizumi has given a number of indications that he will dissolve the Lower House on Oct. 10 if the bill is passed by that date, paving the way for a general election on Nov. 9.

Koizumi also vowed to make an “appropriate contribution” for rebuilding Iraq, including sending SDF units to the country.

The government is considering sending SDF units before the end of the year, now that it has sent a fact-finding mission to Iraq to decide on specific areas of operations and activities. It hopes to come up with ideas on how Japan can contribute before U.S. President George W. Bush visits Japan on Oct. 17.

The 17-minute speech was basically a colorful version of Koizumi’s one-page policy leaflet for the LDP presidential race. However, he made several new pledges, including vows to curb crimes committed by youths and to give women greater power.

Koizumi said the government will increase the number of police officers so that every police box nationwide is always manned. He also said the government aims to raise the level of women in managerial positions in every field of the public and private sectors to 30 percent.

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