Liberal Democratic Party executives reacted positively Tuesday to the government’s postal privatization scheme unveiled the previous day, while rank-and-file members continued to voice opposition.

“There are two problems: one regarding the substance (of the reforms), and the other regarding the emotional side” of the debate, Mikio Aoki, an LDP House of Councilors heavyweight, was quoted as saying during a regular weekly meeting of party and government leaders.

“As for substance, the government has listened to what we had to say, but the emotional problem has yet to be solved,” Aoki said, according to Seiken Sugiura, deputy chief Cabinet secretary, who briefed reporters after the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

The government’s plan calls for Japan Post to be split into four entities under a government-owned holding company in April 2007.

By 2017, all shares in the two entities that handle postal savings and postal insurance will be sold on the market. Cross-shareholding will be allowed.

Aoki’s support is considered essential because he leads the LDP caucus in the Upper House, which the bills will have to clear to be enacted.

During the same meeting, LDP policy chief Kaoru Yosano also acknowledged the government has “sincerely handled” the party’s demands.

But he also pointed out that many LDP members still insist that the holding company must keep some shares in the privatized firms dealing in postal savings and postal insurance.

Most participants at a separate meeting at LDP headquarters of the party’s postal policy panel later Tuesday expressed opposition to the government’s scheme.

“The government needs to make more concessions,” said Hideaki Omura, a member of the House of Representatives, after emerging from the gathering. “I think it’ll be difficult (for the party) to (agree) by the end of the week.”

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet is trying to win over LDP members by week’s end so the bills can be sent to the Diet by the end of the month. Koizumi has said he would like the bills passed by the June end of the current Diet session.

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