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Japan, U.S. may hold 'kampo' talks

Japan and the United States are considering holding talks in Tokyo around Aug. 20 on the privatization of the government-run “kampo” life insurance program, sources from the two governments said Saturday.

The move came as Washington asked Tokyo to convene annual bilateral talks on insurance issues before a key Japanese government panel reaches a conclusion on the privatization of kampo and other postal services this fall, the sources said.

The United States has been urging Japan to put the kampo insurance under the same regulations as its private-sector competitors and not to allow any new or altered kampo products until a level playing field is established.

Japan, for its part, is likely to state its view that the kampo insurance services should be reinforced in the privatization process as outstanding contracts are in a downward trend, Japanese sources said.

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