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Japan Post

Japan Post

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was a government-owned corporation
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

 in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, that existed from 2003–2007, offering postal and package delivery services, banking services, and life insurance. It had over 400,000 employees and ran 24,700 post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

s throughout Japan and was the nation's largest employer. One third of all Japanese government employees worked for Japan Post. As of 2005, the president of the company was Masaharu Ikuta
Masaharu Ikuta
is Japanese businessman from Kobe, Hyogo. He graduated from Keio University.He was the former CEO of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and was the president of the Japan Postal Agency 2003 to March 2007.- References :...

, formerly chairman of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
is a Japanese transport company headquartered in Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo. The company's main area of operations is international shipping. Its alligator logo can be seen on containers in ports around the world....

.

Japan Post ran the world's largest postal savings system and was often said to be the largest holder of personal savings in the world: with ¥224 trillion ($2.1 trillion) of household assets in its yū-cho savings accounts and ¥126 trillion ($1.2 trillion) of household assets in its kampo life insurance services, its holdings account for 25 percent of household assets in Japan. Japan Post also held about ¥140 trillion (one fifth) of the Japanese national debt in the form of government bonds.

On October 1, 2007 Japan Post was privatized
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 following fierce political debate that was settled by the 2005 general election
Japan general election, 2005
A general election in Japan was held on 11 September 2005 for all 480 seats of the House of Representatives of Japan, the lower house of the Diet of Japan, almost two years before the end of the term taken from the last election in 2003...

. After the privatization, the Japan Post Group
Japan Post Holdings
is a large state-owned enterprise in Japan that deals with mail delivery and financial services. Its headquarters is located in Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda, Tokyo. There were plans to fully privatise the agency but these have been put on hold...

 companies operate the postal business.

Postal privatization


The company was born on April 2, 2003, as a government-owned corporation, replacing the old . Japan Post's formation was part of then prime minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

 Junichiro Koizumi
Junichiro Koizumi
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party , he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the...

's long-term reform plan which would culminate in the full privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of the postal service. The privatization plan encounters both support and opposition across the Japanese political spectrum, including the two largest parties, LDP
Liberal Democratic Party (Japan)
The , frequently abbreviated to LDP or , is a centre-right political party in Japan. It is one of the most consistently successful political parties in the democratic world. The LDP ruled almost continuously for nearly 54 years from its founding in 1955 until its defeat in the 2009 election...

 and DPJ
Democratic Party of Japan
The is a political party in Japan founded in 1998 by the merger of several opposition parties. Its socially liberal platform is generally considered center-left in the Japanese political spectrum...

. Opponents claim that the move would result in the closure of post offices and in job losses at the nation's largest employer. However, proponents contend that privatization would allow for a more efficient and flexible use of the company's funds that would help revitalize Japan's economy, which is still recovering from a series of four recessions since 1991. Proponents also claim that Japan Post has become an enormous source of corruption and patronage. Koizumi calls the privatization a major part in his efforts to curb government spending and the growth of the national debt. Most opposition parties support postal privatisation, but not Koizumi's bill. Many consider the bill deeply flawed with too long a time for full implementation and too many loopholes that might create a privatization in name only.

In September 2003, Koizumi's cabinet proposed splitting Japan Post into four separate companies: a bank, an insurance company, a postal service company, and a fourth company to handle the post offices as retail storefronts of the other three. Each of these companies would be privatized in April 2007. In 2005, a bill to complete this reform passed the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of the Japanese legislature by a handful of votes, with many people from Koizumi's LDP defecting. The bill was subsequently defeated in the upper house
House of Councillors
The is the upper house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Representatives is the lower house. The House of Councillors is the successor to the pre-war House of Peers. If the two houses disagree on matters of the budget, treaties, or designation of the prime minister, the House of Representatives...

 (which cannot be dissolved) because of scores of defections from the ruling coalition. Koizumi immediately dissolved the lower house and scheduled nationwide elections
Japan general election, 2005
A general election in Japan was held on 11 September 2005 for all 480 seats of the House of Representatives of Japan, the lower house of the Diet of Japan, almost two years before the end of the term taken from the last election in 2003...

 to be held on September 11, 2005. He declared the election to be a referendum on postal privatization. Koizumi subsequently won this election, gaining the necessary supermajority
Supermajority
A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority . In some jurisdictions, for example, parliamentary procedure requires that any action that may alter the rights of the minority has a supermajority...

 and a mandate for reform, and in October 2005, the bill was passed to privatize Japan Post in 2007.

Types of post office


There are two types of postal facilities in Japan: standard , and . Most post offices are not distribution centers; only the larger offices are. Distribution centers also offer a wider range of services for businesses than normal post offices.

Postal symbol



The symbol of a post office in Japan resembles a capital letter T with a bar over it, 〒. This is used on the signs of post offices, on post boxes, and it is also sometimes used before the postcode on letters. This mark is derived from the Japanese word "Teishin". The symbol can be obtained by typing yuubin in a Japanese word processor and then converting it. There are several variant forms of this symbol in Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

, including a form in a circle, 〶, which is the official Geographical Survey Institute of Japan map symbol
Japanese map symbols
This is a list of symbols appearing on Japanese maps. These symbols are called in the Japanese language.symbolmeaningillustrationsymbolmeaningillustrationMunicipal building Municipal building...

 for a post office.

is a character of Japan Post. Its name is Number-kun. Japan Post released a new character, "Poston", in 1998, so Number-kun is rarely used nowadays.

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