WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) issued the following statement in response to the November 30 provisional approval under the Postal Privatization Law of a new Japan Post Insurance (JPI) education endowment product by the Government of Japan:
ACLI strongly criticized today the Government of Japan's decision to provisionally approve Japan Post Insurance (JPI) business expansion under the Postal Privatization Law while JPI continues to benefit from competitive advantages over the private sector. Allowing JPI to expand its product offering runs counter to Japan's national treatment obligations under the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and calls into question Japan's commitment to honoring such obligations.
In its decision, the Government of Japan has failed to evaluate key level playing field issues, including the lack of application of market discipline on JPI 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. The Government of Japan also failed to take into account the Diet Supplemental Resolutions to the Bill to Revise, etc., the Postal Privatization Law, etc. to ensure equivalent conditions of competition.
Despite years of serious dialogue with the U.S. and the European Union, among others, assurances from Japan and the clearly stated positions of other government and private sector stakeholders, the Government of Japan is tilting the already uneven playing field further in favor of JPI. As the ACLI has previously stated, this decision sends exactly the wrong message, undercutting efforts to open other major insurance markets, which Japan otherwise supports. In fact, Japan's own insurance industry has objected strongly to this misguided decision.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 urges the Government of Japan to remove special statutory and regulatory privileges given to government-owned JPI to bring Japan into compliance with its international obligations, including Japan's national treatment commitments under GATS. ACLI expects the Government of Japan to objectively and deliberately consider Japan Post Insurance expansion without political influence. The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association with more than 300 legal reserve life insurer and fraternal benefit society member companies operating in the United States. ACLI advocates in federal, state and international forums. Its members represent more than 90 percent of the assets and premiums of the U.S. life insurance and annuity industry. In addition to life insurance, annuities and other workplace and individual retirement plans, ACLI members offer long-term care and disability income insurance, and reinsurance. Its public website can be accessed at www.acli.com. SOURCE American Council of Life Insurers