Privatize pampered PostThe reason former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan pushed through postal reform is simple.
As private delivery service companies do a good job Japan Post focused on financial services. The government issued payment guarantees and gave benefits in taxation, resulting in 350 trillion yen ($3.3 trillion) pouring into Japan Post’s banking and insurance arms.
This is a huge amount of money. It takes up 30 percent of the nation’s financial assets. But that money has not been used efficiently.
So former Prime Minister Koizumi risked his political life on postal reform.
When the bill to privatize Japan Post was not passed, Koizumi dismissed the lower house. But the Japanese people finally supported the former prime minister and gave his Liberal Democrats 306 seats out of 480 seats in the lower house.
In Korea, it is good that the presidential team has decided to privatize the postal service step-by-step. The scale is different, but Korea Post is not that different to Japan Post.
Korea Post has more than 30,000 employees and its assets amount to 60 trillion won ($64 billion).
There is no need for the government to sustain Korea Post’s financial branch, which competes with private banking companies. The postal services, which can be regarded as public services, should be maintained as a public corporation. But Korea Post’s financial services can be privatized.
In any case, there’s a global trend to privatize postal services. Among 191 member countries of the Universal Postal Union, 105 turned their state-owned postal services into public corporations.
Eleven countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Argentina and Singapore, have fully privatized their postal services.
Deutsche Post merged with the American company DHL to become the world’s largest logistics group when it privatized in 2002.
But the Korean Postal Workers’ Union opposes privatization. It wants Korea Post to be upgraded to a government administration office. The union plans to stage a rally on Sunday.
It is understandable that the postal workers have taken this stance ― they fear for their jobs. But the government can’t mollycoddle an inefficient public sector forever.
We hope that after privatization, Korea Post will compete against the world’s leading financial and logistics companies to become a leading global company.