The visiting president of an American life insurer group urged the Japanese government Thursday to ensure a “level playing field” when it proceeds with the privatization of its huge postal life insurance service, scheduled to begin in 2007.

Speaking at the Tokyo American Club, Frank Keating, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, demanded that the “kampo” postal life insurance refrain from marketing new products until current preferential treatment is removed from its service, in accordance with the privatization process.

“To have kampo with a government guarantee, paying no taxes, no oversight or regulation, be able to compete with us or with anybody on a level playing field is impossible,” Keating said. “Our very strong request is that no new products be sold by Japan Post’s insurance arm, the kampo, until this level playing field is established. This is the No. 1 trade issue to this industry.”

Keating is scheduled to meet with Japanese government officials, Diet members and life insurers’ representatives during his stay here through Monday.

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