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ACLI Expresses Its Deep Disappointment In Opinion By Japan's Postal Services Privatization Committee

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) issued the following statement in response to the November 22 opinion by Japan's Postal Services Privatization Committee (PSPC) recommending approval of a new Japan Post Insurance (JPI) education endowment product:

"ACLI is deeply disappointed in the PSPC opinion. The opinion runs counter to Japan's national treatment commitments under the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Specifically, under these commitments, JPI should not introduce any new or modified products until a level playing field is established between JPI and private companies.

"The PSPC opinion fails to evaluate key level playing field issues. These include the lack of application of market discipline on JPI, soundness of JPI's corporate governance and internal control capabilities in ensuring its compliance with FSA laws and policy, and measures necessary to address the problem of 'implicit government guarantees' on JPI products based on an objective assessment of its actual impact in the market place, among others.  Instead, the PSPC rationalized that a new product can be approved if it is 'a typical product/service generally available in the market place, and is also a product/service targeted at individuals and strongly connected with [JPI's] core competence.' Under that logic, there would be virtually no limits on new or modified products offered by JPI.

"ACLI believes that the establishment of a level playing field is critical for the sound development of the Japanese insurance market. Granting new competitive advantages to Japan Post will not improve citizens' lives. Instead, it will harm the employees, sales agents, contractors, and investors of Japan Post's private sector competitors; reduce consumer choice; distort Japan's economy; and reduce opportunities for economic growth.

"ACLI reaffirms its call for the establishment of a level competitive playing field in Japan's insurance market and the removal of special statutory or regulatory privileges given to the government-owned JPI. ACLI requests that the Government of Japan reject the PSPC opinion and work constructively with stakeholders like the Japanese and international private sectors and the U.S. Government to develop a market-based solution that will establish a level playing field and bring Japan into compliance with its international obligations, including Japan's national treatment commitments under GATS." 


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