The government will appoint Hideo Ogasawara, who once headed the former UFJ Holdings Inc., to head the banking unit to be created when Japan Post is privatized in October 2007, sources said Wednesday.

By appointing a former executive of a major commercial bank — which merged last year to form Mitsubishi UFJ Holdings Financial Group Inc. — the government hopes to strengthen the management base of the postal savings bank.

The government is expected to announce the appointment of Ogasawara, 67, as early as Thursday as it is in the final stages of choosing the heads of the four companies to be formed when the mammoth postal organization is privatized.

The government is considering appointing Josuke Shindo, 61, president of Tokio Marine & Nichido Systems Co., to take charge of the insurance unit, and is considering Toshihiro Takahashi, 66, current vice president of Japan Post, to run the mail service company.

Takahashi already has been unofficially named as president of the over-the-counter services company.

Japan Post Corp., a government entity established in January, will be the holding company for the four units. The government has recruited Yoshifumi Nishikawa, 67, former president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., a core unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., to head Japan Post Corp.

Opening the mail

A government advisory panel will propose allowing new mail service companies to use Japan Post’s delivery network by paying fees, according to panel head Atsushi Takahashi.

In the runup to full liberalization of mail services, the proposal will also call for permitting new mail service firms to connect their limited networks and utilize convenience stores as well as postal boxes for accepting mail, he said.

The advisory panel to Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Heizo Takenaka will release the proposal before the end of the month. The proposal may exert pressure on Japan Post to further streamline its mail services toward its privatization in October 2007, through which it will split into four entities, including a mail service firm, under a holding company.

A 2003 mail service law allows any entity to undertake mail services if it provides uniform services to all people in Japan and installs some 100,000 postal boxes throughout the country. The difficult conditions have prevented any entity from launching mail services to compete with Japan Post.

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