Japan Post Corp. submitted to the government on Monday outlines of its 10-year postal privatization road map that includes plans for its savings bank to provide loans to individuals and for its life insurance firm to offer health and casualty insurance policies.
The postal savings bank will have 232 outlets, while the postal insurance company will operate 81 outlets, and both will offer their services also at the postal group’s network of 24,000 post offices nationwide, the outlines show.
The group aims to expand the scope of its businesses to match that of its private competitors when it becomes a mammoth private group with a workforce of some 253,200.
Under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s deregulation initiative, Japan in April 2003 converted the Postal Services Agency into Japan Post, a public corporation that took over the three services of mail delivery, postal savings and “kampo” life insurance from the agency.
Last January, the public corporation created Japan Post Corp., a stock company, in preparation for the 10-year postal privatization process beginning Oct. 1, 2007.
The stock company is to become a holding company of four units that will take over the public corporations’ businesses — mail delivery, postal savings, life insurance and over-the-counter services through the network of post offices.
Given the large size of the envisaged private postal service group, its expansionary policy has drawn criticism from some quarters that claim the policy contradicts the spirit of “putting in the hands of the private sector whatever can be done by the private sector” in terms of the postal privatization.
The road map outlines, delivered by Japan Post Corp. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa to Internal Affairs and Communication Minister Heizo Takanaka, are expected to be approved in early August by a government panel consisting of all Cabinet members and led by Koizumi.
According to the outlines, the postal savings bank, tentatively to be named Yucho Bank, will eliminate or raise the 10 million yen ceiling per depositor, and will enter into the businesses of extending loans to individuals and offering credit card services “as early as possible after privatization.”
The postal insurance firm, tentatively called Kampo Life Insurance, will raise the current 10 million yen ceiling per policyholder and will enter into the nonlife insurance field.
The holding company will list shares of the postal savings bank and the insurance firm four years after the privatization, then will sell all of their shares in another five years to private investors.
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