Japan to privatise post office
Japan’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday voted to approve privatization of the post office in that nation.
While the upper house of parliament must now approve the legislation before it becomes law, the approval by the lower house is widely seen as a vote of confidence in prime minister Junichiro Koizumi after his own Liberal Democratic Party opposed his plan for privatization of the state-owned post office.
Mr. Koizumi had threatened to dissolve parliament if he lost the vote. After the vote, several leaders of the LDP resigned in protest.
They had been warned before the vote that cabinet members would be “severely punished” if they opposed the prime minister in the vote. Approximately 40 of the 250 members of the LDP in the lower house voted against the legislation.
Under the privatization plan the post office – which is the biggest state-owned financial services institution in the world, with responsibility for ¥350,000 billion ($3,130 billion) in funds – would be divided into four parts: savings, insurance, mail delivery, and counter services beginning in 2007, with shares offered to the public over the next ten years.