Going Postal

Japan Post is under fire. Here's why:

Q: What is Japan Post?
A: Besides delivering mail, it provides cheap life insurance to 68 million and is the world's largest savings bank. Its 24,700-office branch network also provides government services, such as pension distribution, in rural areas.

Q: Why is Koizumi pushing to reform it?
A: Critics say Japan Post is a bloated, anachronistic, patronage-ridden bureaucracy (some postal jobs are passed from father to son) that does jobs the private sector could handle more effectively. Reformers also say the system...

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