U.S. and European insurers continue to try to influence Japan’s efforts to privatize Japan Post.[@@]

The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi hopes to release a Japan Post privatization plan outine sometime this month.

One section of the outline will deal with privatization of Japan Post’s enormous Kampo postal life insurance system.

The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, has been teaming up with Japanese insurance groups and outside groups for years to ask Japanese officials to apply the same regulatory regime to Kampo that it applies to private life insurers.

Now the ACLI is working with a coalition that includes the Association of British Insurers, London, and the Comite Europeen des Assurances, Paris, to remind Japanese officials that private insurers still want to be a “constructive participant” in the privatization planning process.

The groups have issued a joint statement on the Japan Post privatization initiative.

The groups say they are happy about the general goals of the privatization initiative but concerned about what might happen during the period when Kampo is transforming itself into a company that operates according to the same laws that govern ordinary private life insurers.

“During this process it is essential that Japan Post maintain a standstill on new products that compete with the private sector — including modified products,” coalition members write in the joint statement.

The groups also want to know more about how the new Kampo will be taxed, what will happen to profits on Kampo products issued under the old rules and how Japan will handle the fact that Kampo is so much bigger than other Japanese life insurers, the coalition members write.

“It is our hope that as this important initiative proceeds we will be afforded real-time opportunities to react to drafts, make suggestions, and enter into a regular dialogue with responsible officials,” the coalition members conclude.