Chage, and Hope out of the Fake Privatization
The forces behind the destruction of Japan's competitive and powerful structures, that eroded the Japanese economy in the twentieth century have resurfaced recently.
The symbol of structural reform initiated by former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi is now slowly receding into the past and disappearing as a disastrous outcome of the market fundamentalism or new lieberalism theory.
Only one year ago, on October 1, 2007, Japanese postal services were privatized as the most most important milestone in a long-term conspicracies designed to promote greater economic freehands in the Japanese economy by the neocon followers but the venture is now under harsh criticisms. Japan Post, which had been changed from a government agency to a state-controlled corporation back in 2003, was again reorganized into four different business units—banking, insurance, mail service, and over-the-counter services—under Japan Post Holdings Co., Ltd., a holding company that will manage those units with indirect government control until complete privatization in 2017. Destroying Japan Post’s 136-year-old tradition of services for the nation was done by the dictatorial political leader called Koizumi and his economi advisor Takenaka, both are now fading out into lime lights of the past political disasters. After the privatization the voices of discontent was raised among the custemers or Japanese ordinary citizens and now it is apparent that there was no economic advantages make this process worthwhile. The privatization of Japan Post is now widely said to be a total failure.
Postal privatization was so told to bring positive economic effects by eliminating traditional pump priming in the form of fiscal investment and loan programs (FILPs)—essentially an “automatic money supply”—thereby reducing pressure on the government budget. The FILPs, using money provided by Japan Post, were controlled by the Ministry of Finance and politicians who were backed by local interests involved with road construction and other public works, which was criticized for years as a waste of money and a buildup of hidden losses that would ultimately be covered by tax revenue. But it was a groundless why the Koizumi administration decided to privatize Japan Post. Some politicians argued in favor of FILPs and importance of the public maintenance of the infrastructures but the voices were negated the manupulations of mass media and massive propaganda of the Koizumi government.
However, FILPs were successful in supporting small businesses and individuals in rural areas, so post offices in Japan was even regarded the basic infrastructure of the nation.
Politicians promoted the fake reform want to use it as a tool for political maneuvering by promoting postal privatization, to create an increasing income and wealth gap between rural and urban areas, in accordance with the disaster capitalism theories such as those of Milton Friedman and his Chicago school thoughts.
Japan Post used to be the biggest corporation in Japan in terms of the number of people it employs, 240,000. Japan Post Bank is the biggest savings bank in the world with total assets of 231 trillion yen, or $2.158 trillion, as of March 31, 2007. Japan Post Insurance, the so-called Kanpo, is the biggest life insurance company in the world with total assets of 116 trillion yen, or $1.084 trillion, as of March 31, 2007. Each is about two times bigger than the second largest competitors, and they operate through 24,000 post offices, small or big. The advantage of Japan Post in terms of employees, assets, and networks is viewed as a threat from competitors. Regional banks are especially nervous because the deposit share of Japan Post Bank in every prefecture except Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa was more than 20 percent and outnumbers any other commercial banks. The Japanese Bankers Association and Regional Banks Association have repeatedly accused Japan Post of having an unfair advantage, but since last October the reputation of Japan Post is quickly fading.
Japan Posts of efficient and customer oriented management was thrown away and high qualities service standard of the post offices ware now down graded.
The well respected perfomance of the post offices were based on cozy relationships between Japan Post and related customers, presents a major challenge only one year after the privatization process. Koizumi government accused what is known as the hereditary system, local local postmasters have benefited from guaranteed employment by taking over such responsibilities from their parents and grandparents and maintaining long-established client relationships over generations. But that was groundless. Koizumi announced his retirement annoucing his seat at the Diet could be hopefully given to his son during the coming election. Privatized Japan Post’s chief executive officer, Yoshifumi Nishikawa (former CEO of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group), was appointed without due process of selection only stemming as a child of the economic tycoons of Japan which are supported by the villains of Wall street and its fundamentalist followers politician.
The privatization process for the past year was seriously painful one, especially in rural and depopulated areas where operations were not profitable. Through the years of agony, some politicians opposed to the fake reform, especially in the People’s New Party and the Democratic Party of Japan, discussed a bill to abolish the postal privatization plan after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was defeated in the Lower House election until September this year.
Yet successful but at least the bill amending the existing bill to prohibit the sale of Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance shares to the public passed the Upper House last year though it was neglected by the lower House because still the House was dominated by the children of the Koizumi, or followers of Schok Doctrines. The endeavor of the law makers was to protect these two affiliate companies from takeovers by foreign financial institutions or foreign private equity funds. Now most Japanese politicians understood the danger and limitations of the privatization process . FurtherJapanese voters anti-econmic fundametalism is sharply rising and want to stop it .
There is a hope that the current political turmoil in Japan, where a divided legislature could cause policy paralysis, butvwill have a positive impact to rectify the failures of the postal privatization process. Prime Minister Aso has not offered specifics on the modifications , but it is quite clear that he pays close attention to public opinion. Postal privatization was controversial in the Diet from the outset of the new year and will continue causing political and social rifts until this summer, at the latest. It will be one of major issues in the Lower House election.
Japan Post Holdings Co., Ltd., began operations last October but it is now clear that the defects and business models of divestures does not serve interests the Japanese citizens. Tides and weather of the economic and political situations has drastically been changed.
Some said the the dawn just before the sunrise is the darkest moment, and the largest devastating experiment of postal privatization in Japan is going to escape the collapse and by the incoming election, it can now be saved.