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Groups Unite To Blast Japan Postal Life Proposal

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The American Council of Life Insurers and America’s Health Insurance Plans have teamed with many other insurance and business associations to object to Japan’s recent postal life privatization move.

The ACLI, Washington, and AHIP, Washington, are joining with property-casualty groups, Canadian insurance groups, European insurance groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, to ask the Japanese government to revise a “postal reform preliminary draft” released in early February.

Japanese officials developed the draft to continue efforts to revamp the mammoth businesses associated with the country’s postal system.

Japan’s postal life insurance business is the largest life insurer in the world.

The draft is supposed to go before the Japanese Diet this month.

Implementing many measures in the draft “would be inconsistent with Japan’s international obligations and best practices to provide a level playing field between the Japan Post entities and private banks, insurers, and delivery companies and to refrain from special favors that would give Japan Post an unfair competitive advantage,” the ACLI, AHIP, and other organizations issuing the joint statement argued.

The draft calls for:

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- Exempting the Japan Post Group from some taxes to compensate it for the costs it incurs as a result of universal service obligations imposed by the government.

- Raising the per-person deposit and coverage limits currently imposed on the Japan Post Insurance businesses.

- Letting the Japan Post entities enter new business areas, including those where foreign companies are strong.

- Giving Japan Post Insurance and other Japan Post businesses a number of exemptions from Japanese insurance laws.

“For years, industry groups have engaged Japan regarding Japan Post reform, repeatedly emphasizing the need to establish a level playing field with the private sector across the broad spectrum of Japan Post’s competitive services,” the issuers of the joint statement say.

The issuers say they are urging the government of Japan to use the time before it formally submits the draft to the Diet to ensure a level playing field.