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The government plans to revise the 2003 mail service law in a bid to encourage new entrants into the mail business now effectively monopolized by Japan Post, sources said Saturday.

Draft revisions under study include a plan to allow people to post mail at convenience stores. Other ideas include exempting new entrants from the duty of delivering mail across Japan by lifting the ban on signing consignment contracts for delivery in areas they cannot cover.

The mail delivery business was opened to the private sector in April 2003. No company has entered the market — except for the delivery of specified mail in certain areas — due to major hurdles required for newcomers under the law, such as setting up some 100,000 post boxes across the nation.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will submit a bill to amend the law to the Diet next year to implement measures in October 2007 aimed at facilitating market entry, when Japan Post is broken up into four stock companies, the sources said.

The law currently says mail can only be accepted at post boxes and that a mail-service provider must offer uniform service throughout Japan.

Under the planned measures, new entrants will be able to sign a contract with either Japan Post or other new entrants to deliver mail.

Japan Post will be privatized in phases over a 10-year period after it is split into four units.

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