Table of Contents

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindofer and James I. Campbell Jr

The postal and delivery sector has been the subject of considerable interest in recent years. This Handbook brings together a number of contributions directed at understanding developments in the field of postal reform. The authors review the experience and plans of individual countries to provide some perspective on the problems faced in the area and the varied approaches being taken to address it. They also review key elements of policy and strategy that are important in this debate.

Chapter 21: How Much Postal Reform in Japanese Postal Privatization?

James I Campbell Jr and Amelia Porges

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


* James I. Campbell Jr.† and Amelia Porges‡ 1. INTRODUCTION On 1 October 2007, the curtain came down on over 130 years of postal banking and insurance in Japan, as Japan Post Public Corporation was dissolved and its functions devolved to successor postal and financial corporations at the outset of a 10-year privatization process. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the strong-minded reform politician who had pushed through the decision to privatize, was there with corporate chiefs and other political leaders to cut the ribbon at the launch ceremony for the new Japan Post Group. The privatization process thus launched was not, and is not, focused on revitalizing postal delivery services, for the overall stakes have always been much larger. Koizumi’s key objective as prime minister was to achieve fiscal and political reform by unlocking the billions of dollars in banking and insurance assets held by the postal system and cutting off the flow of these assets into government spending. Postal reform as such was an afterthought. Enactment of the postal privatization package took many years of political struggle, a legislative stalemate, a snap election campaign focused on postal privatization, and a landslide victory for Koizumi after he campaigned against the recalcitrant within his own party. The political compromises he made along the way have influenced the design of privatization and will affect all of the Japan Post Group entities on a continuing basis. Japan Post Bank, Japan’s largest bank, and Japan Post Insurance, its largest insurance company, will continue...

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