From The Open End
In what is regarded as the world’s largest privatization attempt ever, Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, is putting the wheels into motion as he attempts to privatize the Japanese postal-banking service known as the Japan Post.
The move has thrown Japan into one of the largest political battles it’s seen in recent years. In fact, just recently lower house lawmaker, Yoji Nagoaka, was so torn on whether to vote for or against privatization that he committed suicide (!) just to relieve himself of the pressure.
Discussions regarding Japan Post’s privatization have been going on for years, but now it is very likely that what was once a pipe dream, will now become a reality. The actual move will be done with four bills splitting Japan Post into four different business parts dealing savings, insurance, mail deliveries and post offices.
Prime Minister Koizumi has been adamant on the passage of the bills for many reasons. According to Times Online, “The flow of Japan Post cash into government bonds has underpinned years of wasteful spending, to the profit of construction businesses with good political connections. Jobs in the postal system often go to political loyalists and some are almost deemed hereditary.”
Koizumi also believes that private companies should be managing the parts of Japan Post instead of bureaucrats. It is said that other countries around the world will be monitoring the success of the privatization to gauge whether or not the same thing should be done in their respective countries.
As it stands now, it seems that things are beginning to stabilize a bit in Japan and bill passage is expected by August 13. If this happens they will join the ranks of Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden as countries who have successfully privatized the postal service.
The only question is, why hasn’t the United States done the same?