Claiming a mandate for change, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged in parliament [Monday] to battle vested interests in his campaign to implement reform after his Cabinet approved his plan to privatize the sprawling postal service. The government planned to submit the postal bills to a special session of parliament later in the day. A vote is expected sometime in the middle of next month, and the ruling coalition’s strong majority following their landslide election win this month means the legislation should pass easily. “I will solemnly accept the voice of the Japanese people and will be committed to realize postal privatization,” Koizumi told lawmakers, claiming wide public support for reform after the coalition’s victory on Sept. 11.
Even with a planned postage rate increase, the U.S. Postal Service expects to go nearly $1.8 billion in the red next year, Postal Chief Financial Officer Richard J. Strasser told the agency’s board of governors Tuesday.