The American Council of Life Insurers is objecting to the way Japan is handling efforts by a semiprivatized postal life company to compete with private cancer insurers.

Japan Post Insurance, Tokyo, an entity created in 2007, when Japan began the process of privatizing its mammoth, government-owned Kampo Life Insurance system, recently applied for permission to compete directly with Japanese and international private insurers in Japan by selling cancer insurance.

A unit of Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga., is known for creating and dominating the modern Japanese insurance market.

The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, and Japanese life insurers long have lobbied for the Japanese government to prevent Japan Post Insurance from using its enormous size and other advantages left over from its days as a government enterprise to crush private-sector competitors.

Early indications are that Japan Post Insurance may be competing on an uneven playing field in the cancer insurance market, the ACLI warns.

Kunio Hatoyama, Japan’s minister of internal affairs and communications, reportedly said last week that he wants to approve Japan Post Insurance sales of cancer insurance “from the bottom of my heart,” the ACLI says.

In Japan, “a level playing field simply doesn’t exist,” ACLI President Frank Keating says in a statement.

The ACLI is particularly concerned by Hatoyama’s apparent support for approving the Japan Post Insurance cancer insurance product even before his agency has evaluated the product application, Keating says.