• Kyodo News

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Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura has voiced caution over expanding the business of Japan Post Insurance Co. in the insurance market after the United States urged Japan to ensure “a level playing field” between the state-owned insurer and private-sector insurers.

Kawamura told reporters Tuesday the government will “consider appropriately” whether Japan Post Insurance, a unit of the state-owned Japan Post Group, should seek state approval to sell new products such as cancer insurance.

“The government needs to place emphasis on international trade arrangements reached under such frameworks as the World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,” Kawamura said.

“Our stance is that we will keep ensuring that the postal privatization process complies with global requirements,” Kawamura said, adding the government will bear in mind the need to secure an equal footing.

A U.S. trade report released March 31 noted Japan Post Insurance remains “a dominant force” in the Japanese insurance market, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it has “long-standing concerns about the postal insurance company’s impact on competition in Japan’s insurance market.”

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