Chapter 12: Universal Service Obligation
Although it has been much less examined and discussed than issues related to efficiency, the universal service system is important to public utility industries in Japan. The universal service system has been comprehensively adopted by the postal service and telecommunications industries, which have recently been undergoing rapid transformation. The Japan Post Public Corporation was privatized in 2007, leading to progress in competition in the postal services industry. In telecommunications, new companies have entered the market, generating severe competition for traditional telecommunications companies such as NTT. With all the recent rapid changes, the idea of universal service is no longer relevant only to traditional incumbent telecommunications companies but to many new types of organizations as well. This chapter lists the characteristics of the universal service system in Japanese public utility industries. First, there is a definition of universal service in Japan and a justification of its use. Second, there follows an explanation of universal service as related to postal services, with attention to the object and range of universal service, service standards, and major comparisons with other countries.
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