Postal bills rammed through Lower House

Four bills that are a milestone toward privatizing postal services passed through the House of Representatives Plenary Session on July 9 by a majority of the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Conservative parties.

In the discussion that preceded the vote, Haruna Naoaki represented the Japanese Communist Party to express opposition to the bills allowing private sector access to the government-run postal services. He said, "These bills will cut off unprofitable units and downgrade mailing and other postal services."

Braille mail at present is free of charge, but the bills do not contain the clause concerned. Haruna criticized this as intended eventually to abolish the free mail service for the Braille letters in future.

Management of the postal services would be transferred from the Ministry of Publice Management to a new public corporation. The national Diet will no longer be involved in funding or accounting of the postal services. The public corporation will be allowed to fund affiliated companies. "This will only expand the structure for defending vested-interests," said the JCP lawmaker.

Haruna emphasized that the bills' eventual goal is privatization of the postal savings and postal insurance systems as well as the mail delivery services. Ordinary people have so far used the state-run postal savings system with security, but major banks are eagerly looking to it as enormously lucrative. The proposed system may expose people's money to danger, Haruna warned. (end)