Postal privatization minister Heizo Takenaka and Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki on Monday criticized the Democratic Party of Japan’s recently aired ideas to change the postal savings system and fiscal reform, saying they would cost more than 100,000 jobs.
The main opposition party is likely to include the plans in its campaign platform for the upcoming general election.
Takenaka, who is also economic and fiscal policy minister, said the DPJ’s plan to eventually lower the cap on postal savings for individual accounts to 5 million yen from the current 10 million yen would eliminate 30 percent to 35 percent of the jobs at Japan Post, which employs some 400,000 people.
“(The plan) should downsize operations, and I wonder how employment could be ensured. The entire picture is unclear,” Takenaka said.
DPJ President Katsuya Okada discussed the plan Saturday and indicated the DPJ might make it part of its campaign platform for the Sept. 11 election.
Takenaka said about 60 percent to 70 percent of the national post office’s current operations are supported by financial operations, and that if the cap is lowered to 5 million yen, the total size of the operations at Japan Post “will be halved, making 30 percent to 35 percent of the jobs unnecessary.”
He said the Liberal Democratic Party’s postal reform plan, the centerpiece of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s reform initiatives, is aimed at sustaining employment by creating new operations.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tanigaki criticized the DPJ’s reported pledge to cut government spending by 10 trillion yen over the next three years, saying it mimics Koizumi’s fiscal reform drive.
“The Koizumi administration has trimmed 10 trillion yen via spending cuts over the past four years,” Tanigaki said. “It looks like the DPJ is tracing our thinking and is only trying to attract voter attention with an ambitious target.”
The DPJ is calling for cutting government spending by 10 trillion yen over the next three years and capping fresh government bond issuance at 30 trillion yen or less in fiscal 2008, according to the pledge, to be formally announced this week.
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