The Japanese Experience
Chapter 8: Postal Service
The postal service industry was formerly one of the most conservative public utility industries in Japan. From the advent of a modern postal system in 1871, postal service was provided by the government. In October 2007, however, under the administration of Prime Minister Koizumi, the Japan Post Public Corporation was divided into five group companies, and this began the process of fully privatizing postal service in Japan. The privatization of postal service differs from that of other formerly state-owned entities in that reform has not been drastic and there have been few regulatory schemes introducing competition and liberalization. The Japan Post companies continue to play an important role in the postal service market. Although there are several good summary papers regarding regulatory reform of postal services, for example, Ishii (2005b) and Ide (2004b), these are written in Japanese and do not describe the current situation. Therefore, this chapter will describe characteristics of the postal service industry and explain its industrial structure, current mail situation, and kinds of post offices.
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