• Kyodo


A government panel decided Tuesday to end Saturday delivery for standard mail due to a labor shortage at Japan Post Co. and a drop in demand because of increased use of the internet.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry accepted the proposal from the panel and will seek a law amendment at an extraordinary Diet session this fall. Delivery on Saturday could be terminated possibly next year and will be available only on weekdays.

The panel also proposed that next-day delivery for standard mail be ended.

Japan Post, a unit of Japan Post Holdings Co., has been calling for a review to trim standard mail service hours to five days a week from the current six to address the workforce shortage. The government holds a more than 50 percent stake in Japan Post Holdings.

The unit estimates the changes will lift its profit from the postal service business by ¥62.5 billion ($590 million) through reduced labor costs, which are on the rise due to the staffing shortfall.

Saturday delivery for parcels is to remain, along with express and registered mail. The postal service unit is considering a 10 percent cut in charges for express mail in return for discontinuing Saturday mail service.

The panel also proposed extending the standard delivery time limit of three days to four days to maintain stable services.

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