The head of a governmental advisory panel on Japan Post is ready to recommend gradually raising the maximum deposit in postal savings in the planned privatized bank and boosting the coverage limits in the envisioned insurer.

Naoki Tanaka, chairman of the Japan Post privatization committee, said at a news conference after the panel’s first meeting Monday it is ready to recommend raising the ceilings in proportion to the shares in the bank and insurer that the government disposes of, which will then be held by a holding company.

At present, the government sets caps on deposits and insurance coverage at 10 million yen per customer. The ceilings are based on the government’s guarantee of customer deposits and policy holdings.

Under privatization legislation that cleared the Diet last October, the 10-year privatization of Japan Post will start Oct. 1, 2007, with the public corporation to be split into four joint-stock companies operating under a holding firm.

Three of the four will take over Japan Post’s major functions — postal savings, postal insurance and mail delivery. The fourth will provide over-the-counter services at post offices around the country.

“If the holding firm devises a program to unload its shareholdings at a considerably fast tempo, it will influence the directives on the upper limits that we will draw up,” Tanaka said.

He also emphasized the panel will maintain the current plan to keep the upper limits at 10 million yen each for postal savings and insurance contracts at the start of the privatization process.

The panel is empowered to comment on plans to allow Japan Post and the four firms to enter new lines of business.

It is also tasked with communicating with ministers regarding whether such new business activities will harm private-sector companies.

The panel also discussed Japan Post’s plan to move into international air cargo.

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