Koizumi resolved to privatize Japan Post from April 2007

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed determination on Saturday to begin the process of privatizing the state-backed Japan Post in April 2007.

While noting that Japan will be in a critical stage for achieving a successful outcome of his reform policy, Koizumi said in a written New Year’s statement that he is “resolved to privatize Japan Post” from April 2007.

He also reiterated his hope that the Diet will pass a set of bills to privatize Japan Post during its next ordinary session to begin in January.

Under the government plan, Japan Post will be split into four entities in charge of mail delivery, postal savings, postal insurance and post office management, all under a new holding company, when the 10-year process begins in April 2007.

Although Koizumi, who is also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, places top priority on the postal reform, many LDP lawmakers are opposed to the planned privatization.

Koizumi also said he will make efforts to reinvigorate the nation’s economy by fighting deflation and normalizing the nation’s bad-loan problem.

On North Korea, Koizumi said Japan will seek to resolve the issues of the country’s abductions of Japanese citizens and its nuclear and missile development programs from the perspectives both of “dialogue and pressure.”

He also said Japan will cooperate with the international community to achieve a resolution to the issues.

Japan’s negotiations with North Korea over the latter’s abductions of Japanese citizens have stalemated with no progress on 10 Japanese citizens Tokyo recognizes as abduction victims. In December, Japan concluded that the results of the North’s reinvestigation into the 10 cases are not trustworthy.

North Korea gave documents and material evidence to a Japanese delegation to bilateral abduction talks in November in Pyongyang as the results of its reinvestigations.

Among key material evidence, cremated remains which North Korea claimed to belong to Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota turned out to be those of two different persons through DNA analysis.

North Korea has repeatedly said eight of the 10 are dead and the other two never entered its territory, but Japan is not convinced by the explanations.

As LDP president, Koizumi said his party will prepare a draft of a revised Constitution in 2005, the 50th anniversary of the party’s establishment, to “deepen national debate” on the issue.

The LDP launched in December a task force to revise the Constitution and plans to compile a draft ahead of the anniversary in November.

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