Heizo Takenaka, just named to the brand-new post of minister of postal reform, said Tuesday he will “keep talking” to Liberal Democratic Party politicians until he wins their support for privatization.
“We will keep the LDP posted on every step we take,” he said in an interview. “But I cannot say when” LDP approval will be won. “We have a huge task ahead.”
A former economics professor and a key member of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s new Cabinet, Takenaka was reappointed Monday as economic and fiscal policy minister as well as being named to the newly created ministerial post in charge of privatizing the nation’s postal system.
“Some LDP politicians support privatization, and some oppose it,” Takenaka said.
He added that he intends to present simulations of what post office services and earnings will be like, as well as postal employees’ working conditions, “until (the LDP) is convinced privatization will benefit the people.”
Takenaka is now in charge of drafting a bill describing what the government-owned Japan Post will look like when privatization begins in April 2007, and how it will be completely privatized by 2017.
Postal privatization is at the top of the agenda for Koizumi’s new Cabinet. On Monday, the prime minister instructed Takenaka to remain faithful to a blueprint that Takenaka drew up with posts minister Taro Aso earlier this month.
Privatization, Takenaka said, will transfer a huge amount of funds to the private sector, reduce waste in public spending and increase investment in private industry.
According to the basic plan, the post office will by 2007 be split into four units, covering mail delivery, postal savings and life insurance, and a new division offering over-the-counter services.
“We can now begin discussion about (the privatized entity’s) earnings ability, and other key issues,” Takenaka said. A group of experts will draw up a list of broad issues that need to be addressed first, he said.
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