Japanese Post Offices around the country unveiled a new look on Monday. The bright orange logo symbolizes a new start for one of the country's best-loved and efficient institutions.
Japan Post, the huge public postal service corporation, was split up into four separate companies under a new holding company as the first stage in ex-Premier Koizumi's privatization plan. The four firms (Japan Post Service Co., Japan Post Network Co., Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co) are responsible for mail delivery, post office savings, insurance and over-the-counter services.
Many small rural post offices have already been closed and commission rates for paying utilities have risen from a flat 30 yen fee to a sliding scale depending on the amount. Postal money order commissions have also gone up.
Japan Post Bank, the new bank has taken over the 300 trillion yen assets of the world's largest financial institution. However this huge amount of savings may begin to dwindle as full repayment of personal post office savings is no longer guaranteed by the government after privatization. As with other banks, repayments of up to 10 million yen only plus interest are now guaranteed per account holder in the newly created bank.
Japan Post Insurance became the Japan's largest insurance company overnight with 116.6 trillion yen worth of assets, more than double the nextlargest insurer Nippon Life Insurance Co.
Post offices may also start to look a bit more like convenience stores as privatization means they will be able to sell other goods. Japan Post Network Co which is in charge of over-the-counter services will begin to sell a wider range of insurance policies. Also as the companies now own the buildings they operate in, they have inherited some extremely valuable real estate. The Tokyo Central Post Office near Tokyo Station, for example, will be redeveloped and offices probably let to other companies to increase revenue.
Japan's post office, which was modeled on that of Britain, dates back to the early 1870s. After privatization there are now around 24,000 post offices in Japan with approximately119,900 workers employed by Japan Post Service Co.
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
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