The United States should continue to press the Japanese government to make the giant Kampo postal life insurance program compete on a level playing field with private insurers.[@@]
American Council of Life Insurers President Frank Keating delivered that message here Wednesday at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently suffered a major setback in the Japanese parliament in connection with his efforts to privatize Kampo and other postal service businesses.
Koizumi’s party won a decisive victory in a general election held earlier this month, and Koizumi has talked about his plans to continue to push for postal privatization.
U.S. life insurers entered the Japanese market about 30 years ago and now account for 15% of the Japanese life market, but Kampo still controls 40% of the market, Keating said at the House hearing.
“Year after year, through successive U.S. administrations, [the U.S. trade representative] has urged Japan to ‘level the playing field’ so as to counteract Kampo’s looming presence,” Keating said.