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Koizumi proposes privatisation of Japanese post office

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by Brian Turner
Koizumi proposes privatisation of Japanese post office

Japan’s parliament began on Thursday to debate a bill that would privatize their post office, the world’s largest financial institution.

The plan, supported by prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, would split the post office into four units – savings, insurance, mail delivery, and counter services – beginning in 2007.

Mr. Koizumi holds that privatizing would cut the public sector and also free up the ¥350,000 billion ($3,240 billion) in post office funds.

However, many of the members of the prime minister’s own Liberal Democratic Party oppose privatization. The party has, in the past, used post office funds to finance pet projects. They have also used its nationwide network as a sort of unofficial machine to line up votes.

The prime minister is so intent on the bill passing that he has threatened to dissolve parliament if it does not pass. Opponents of the plan are so adamant that the bill not pass that they boycotted the start of debate in protest.

One well-known political analyst has said that he believes it is possible that the bill will not pass, creating a political crisis and bringing down the Koizumi government.

He feels that while the lower house of parliament may pass the bill but that there is only a 50/50 chance that it will be approved by the upper house.

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News posted: May 26, 2005

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