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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 154 (September 9, 2004)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Basic Policy on the Privatization of the Postal Services

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Typhoon No. 18 struck Japan this week, bringing major damage and destruction with its strong winds and torrential rains. Itsukushima Shrine, which I had visited in spring this year, was subject to great damage. I would like to send out a heartfelt message of sympathy to all the people who have suffered due to the typhoon. The most recent typhoon is now the seventh to have made landfall on Japan this year. The government will continue to improve and upgrade its disaster preparedness and is dedicated to cooperating with local regions as they engage in rehabilitation efforts.

Many people including numerous children became victims of terrorists who took them hostage in the Republic of North Ossetia in southern Russia. I am outraged at such a contemptible act targeting children at school and I offer my sincere condolences to the people who have lost their lives in this atrocity.

It is almost three years since the simultaneous terrorist attacks that took place in the United States on September 11, 2001. In the face of frequently occurring terrorist acts, I reaffirm my strong resolve that in facing this scourge, the international community must stand united.

It was a busy week. With the aim of the Basic Policy on the Privatization of the Postal Services being adopted at the Cabinet meeting this coming Friday, work is now in its final stages.

The plan I have in mind is to split Japan Post in 2007 into four companies, which would administer postal services, postal savings, postal life insurance and the range of over-the-counter services respectively, under one holding company, each conducting their corporate affairs independently and transparently.

I have received e-mails from readers who are worried that the post offices located all around Japan will disappear once Japan Post is privatized. This, however, will not be the case.

On the contrary, it can be said that the network of post offices that runs the length and breadth of the country is a great asset. Until now, post offices could only provide the three services of mail delivery, savings and insurance, but once privatization is completed, new additional services can be launched, making use of the knowledge and ingenuity of the private sector. In this way, the asset of our post office network can be further and more effectively utilized.

Obviously the services of mail delivery, savings and postal life insurance are convenient and indispensable in our daily lives. Is it really a must, however, that these operations be managed by civil servants? I am confident that even more convenient services can be provided through privatization, utilizing the knowledge and ingenuity of the private sector.

The money accumulated from postal savings and postal life insurance had until recently been used as business funds for special public corporations. However, once the postal services are privatized, the flow of funds will also change drastically "from the public sector to the private sector." In this respect, the privatization of the postal services is at the center of the reform advanced by the Koizumi Cabinet under the policy of "leaving to the private sector what it can do."

It is quite natural for people to feel resistant to changing prevailing practices. Even when people agree to the general principle of reform, once they get down to the details, voices of opposition are inevitably raised. I am fully aware that some people would like to maintain the current situation in which they are protected by law, but I would urge them to reconsider their position. Whether or not reform should be advanced, should, after all, be considered from the perspective of the broadest possible spectrum of the people of Japan.

My firm determination to advance the privatization of the postal services, which is at the center of my reform, will not change.

I will visit Sao Paulo and Brasilia in Brazil, Mexico City and New York over the course of eleven days starting next Monday. I look forward to sharing with you some episodes from those cities through the e-mail magazine over the next two weeks.

* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Brazilian Coordinators for International Relations Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (September 8, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi asked the Brazilian youths to become ambassadors of friendship between Japan and Brazil and to work as a bridge of friendship between the two countries.

- Representatives of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (September 7, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi shook hands with the representatives from each participating country and offered them his words of encouragement.

- Prime Minister Honors Contributors to Disaster Prevention (September 3, 2004)
Prime Minister Koizumi hosted a ceremony to commend groups and individuals who have significantly contributed to disaster prevention.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiken Sugiura
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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