Government must first answer the question why postal privatization is necessary

Postal privatization is at the top of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's reform list, but he hasn't given a convincing explanation as to why the postal services need to be privatized.

This was a major issue on the Sunday Debate program (NHK) aired on March 6.

Koike Akira, Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission chair, called for the government to start from scratch. "The people do not understand the government's argument because it regards 'privatization' as the only way to carry out 'postal reform'," he added.

Katayama Toranosuke of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party complained that the debate on "postal reform" always comes back to the question, "Why privatization now?" and suggested the need to go back to a discussion of this basic question.

Koike responded to Katayama by pointing out that the government lacks any consistency in its explanation about the reason for the need to privatize.

He said: "The government at first said the postal service will become too big unless it is privatized. Now it says it will go broke if it continues to be run by the state. The debate always has to return to the starting point simply because of the government's inability to respond to people who are concerned that postal privatization will lead to cuts in services."

Citing the government's argument that the postal services will be profitable if they are privatized, Koike said, "It's unrealistic because it is based on the condition that postal services will make larger earnings than any other major companies in all fields, including convenience store operations, distribution companies, and financial services." (end)

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