Koizumi and Japan Post

If Koizumi's gamble in calling an early election in Japan pays off, we could be about to see the biggest privatisation ever: Japan Post.

The company is not only responsible for the second largest mail operation in the world (after the US) it also owns a network of banks and numerous other businesses. It is a huge source of corruption and patronage in Japan, which is why so many elements in the political class resist privatisation. Could this be a new impetus in privatisation? Not only has this sector been almost entirely immune globally, Japan, like Germany, largely resisted the privatisation bug of the 80s. Both economies have suffered badly as a result.

In symbolic as well as practical terms this could be the start of a whole new impetus towards market economics. A good thing too, we still have a long way to go.

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