Japan's Mail delivery unprofitable in most regions

Mail delivery services were profitable in only two service regions in Japan in fiscal 2000-2002 and unprofitable in the remaining 10 for each year of the three-year period, government sources said Thursday in reference to an estimate by the posts ministry.

The profitable blocks were Tokyo and Kanto, the region surrounding the nation’s capital.

In fiscal 2002 that ended in March, mail delivery services were in the red to an extent of 40.7 billion yen in Hokkaido, 48.9 billion yen in Tohoku and 44.5 billion yen in Kyushu among the 10 unprofitable regions.

Losses in the Kinki and Tokai areas, which respectively contain the major cities of Osaka and Nagoya, were much smaller at 2.3 billion and 6.6 billion yen.

The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications estimated earnings from three postal services — mail delivery, savings and “kampo” life insurance — in the three-year period, following the first such estimate covering fiscal 1997-1999.

Earnings from mail delivery in fiscal 2000-2002 worsened from the preceding three-year period in the 10 unprofitable regions. For example, Tohoku saw its loss grow to 133.3 billion yen from 126.9 billion yen.

Postal savings were unprofitable in all 12 regions in fiscal 2000 due to large interest payments for accounts opened when interest rates were high. But they turned profitable in the following two years.

Kampo life insurance brought in profits in 11 regions in each year of fiscal 2000-2002. The Hokkaido block fell into the red in fiscal 2002.

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