Zenroren workers aim to get postal privatization bill scrapped@iJuly15,2005j

The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties used their majority to have the postal privatization bill passed through the House of Representatives by a margin of five votes on July 5 in complete disregard of growing parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition.

The bill, which had been amended due to strong public criticism, was immediately sent to the House of Councilors for the next round of debate.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, who says that enactment of the bill is a centerpiece of his "structural reforms," has said, "Although the bill has been amended, its essence remains unchanged."

The postal privatization bill, which is harmful rather than beneficial, continues to face nationwide opposition. Zenroren unions in cooperation with other organizations are increasing actions, including signature collection, to get the bill scrapped.

House of Representatives discussions have revealed that the privatization bill, if enacted, will allow 340 trillion yen (nearly three trillion US dollars), the aggregate of people's small savings, to be sold off to Japanese and US finance capital.

Zenroren's Task Force on Opposition to Postal Privatization has launched a campaign to collect one million signatures to get the privatization bill scrapped. It is working to link local signature collection activities to lobbying members of parliament as well as sit-in protests in front of the Diet (parliament).

In Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, a Liberal Democratic Party member of parliament wrote a message in solidarity with a rally in opposition to the postal privatization bill. This is an example how opposition to the bill is spreading.

Zenroren in late June submitted 230,00 signatures to the Diet.

The Zenroren task force is now concentrating its effort on helping to increase the local and parliamentary struggles to stop the bill.

Post offices in the neighborhood will disappear

Prime Minister Koizumi has squandered 600 million yen (about 5.8 million US dollars) on his public relations to try to convince the public that "post offices will notdisappear" and that "the present level of postal services will not be reduced."

However, speaking at a House of Representative special committee on postal reform, Mr. Koizumi said, "Neighborhood post office can go, of course. I do not deny that the privatization may cause iconvenience to those who at present use post offices in their neighborhoods."

Post-office network will collapse

The government has explained that 7,720 post offices in depopulated regions will be preserved in the existing post office network. This means that the under the bill, if enacted, more than 70 percent of the 24,700 post offices throughout the country will no longer have to exist. This is nothing less than a collapse of the post-office network.

'Vulture fund' preying on postal privatization

The government says that a merit of postal privatization is that the private sector can take over managemeant of funds from the government. But the true aim of letting the private sector manage is to allow Japanese and US finance business to use the privatization scheme to realize their dream: making the 340 trillion yen collected as individual savings and postal (kampo) insurance premiums at their disposal.

The danger is that postal savings and kampo insurance premiums will be used to make risky investment.

(From the July 15, 2005 issue of the monthly gZenrorenh)


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