Hokkaido opposes Koizumi's 'postal service privatization'

Voices of "objection" to the postal service privatization pursued by the Koizumi Cabinet have been rising everywhere in Japan, especially in local municipal assemblies in northern Hokkaido.

For Takebe Tsutomu, who was elected from a constituency in Hokkaido to the House of Representatives and was posted by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro to be the Liberal Democratic Party secretary general in order to push the new postal service policy, the situation has been tense especially since the cabinet approved this policy on September 10.

In Hokkaido, 169 out of 212 local assemblies, 80 percent, have adopted resolutions during their September sessions in opposition to postal privatization and calling for "the postal administration public corporation to be retained."

If local assemblies that have expressed "concerns" about the policy are added, the number will be 186 or 88% of the total, representing three-fourths of Hokkaido's 6 million residents. This indicates that Takebe's constituency has revolted against him.

The language used differs from one resolution to another. Not only assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party but also conservative parties and independents, postmasters, and residents concerned promoted them.

While the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are pushing ahead with the plan in the Diet, members associated with these parties in Hokkaido opposed this.

A former postmaster heading the 2,500-member association of retired postmasters and other persons concerned told Akahata as follows: "Although we are with the LDP, the passage of resolutions in so many assemblies in Hokkaido clearly represent how Hokkaido people are opposed to the proposed privatization of postal services. The government must listen. It should acknowledge that in a recent public opinion survey only 2 percent of respondents are urging the government to give top priority to the postal service privatization policy." (end)

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