An advisory panel recommended Wednesday that Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Heizo Takenaka order Japan Post to improve its business practices after post offices were found to have offered inappropriate discounts on postal fees.

Takenaka plans to issue the order, as recommended by the Postal Administration Council, on Thursday, officials said.

The business improvement order is the first received by Japan Post since it became a public corporation in April 2003.

Japan Post will be asked to submit a report to the ministry in one month’s time stating how it will prevent a recurrence of the violation.

In May, Japan Post discovered that Nagaoka Post Office in Niigata Prefecture lost 2.7 billion yen in revenue by providing excessive discounts on 120 million pieces of direct mail between June 2002 and December 2003. The ministry later identified several post offices that lacked effective internal controls and asked the council to consider the improvement order.

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