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The Liberal Democratic Party continued late Monday night trying to put together a set of requests for modifying the government’s plan to privatize postal services by 2017 by splitting Japan Post into four units.

While top LDP executives worked desperately to get the party to give them a free hand to negotiate with the government to prevent confusion, opponents continued to put up stiff resistance to the privatization plan.

The executive members were hoping to have the party reach a conclusion by late Monday night so they could enter negotiations with the government.

LDP policy affairs chief Kaoru Yosano presented the party’s joint panel on postal reform with a six-point proposal as the party’s requests for altering the government plan.

The proposal includes allowing cross-shareholding among the privatized entities to retain their unity, and increasing the size of a fund the government plans to set up to help maintain rural post offices, party sources said. The government has proposed 1 trillion yen for the fund.

As of late in the evening, however, it still wasn’t known whether the party executives could win over the opponents because they were fighting tooth-and-nail against the executive members’ attempt to use the government plan as the basis for the party’s opinion.

Many opponents fear full-fledged privatization and splitting up Japan Post could lead to the closure of money-losing post offices, which constitute a major vote-garnering machine for the party.

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters that the government will present postal privatization bills at its task force meeting Wednesday and hopes to have the Cabinet endorse them as early as next week.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday he was determined to introduce the bills to the Diet before the end of the month “without making an amendment.”

Koizumi imposed the deadline because otherwise, he said, it could be difficult to have them enacted before the current Diet session closes June 19.

Should he try to bypass the opposition within the LDP and submit the bills without the party’s approval, however, the party leadership would not be able to force party members to support the bills when they are put to a Diet vote.

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