Letter on Japanese Postal Privatization

Mr. Masaharu Ikuta
Japan Post
1-3-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8798
Japan

Dear Mr. Masaharu Ikuta:

For many years I have been aware of the high level of mail and financial services provided by the Japanese post office. Mail service is accurate and efficient, and post offices are located in even the smallest towns.

It should be remembered that Japan’s postal savings system is not only a convenience; it has helped extend financial services broadly and assisted efforts to stabilize and stimulate the economy for years through public works projects. Additionally, postal employees are well known for looking after their communities, the International Herald Tribune has rightly reported that Japanese postmasters are “pillars of the community.”

However, despite its record of success, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has continually insisted on pushing for postal privatization. As a citizen of the United States I find it troubling that he is supported by the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organizations that want privatization for an obvious combination of ideological and self-interested commercial motivations. Koizumi’s demands are only supported by 24 percent of the Japanese people. The Japanese public understands that privatization would lead to a reduction in postal services, and possibly disenfranchisement. Elimination of the postal monopoly in such nations as Sweden and New Zealand has led to the closure of half of these nation’s post offices, and Argentina’s venture into postal privatization was such an abject failure that it was recently renationalized.

Instead of pushing ill-advised privatization schemes, U.S. policy makers should be looking to Japan for pointers on successfully running a postal service, including establishing a postal savings program for millions of Americans who cannot afford or are denied banking services.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Cc: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

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