郵政保険提携 企業価値の向上占う試金石だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 1, 2013
Japan Post-Aflac deal a chance to revive postal sector profits
郵政保険提携 企業価値の向上占う試金石だ(7月31日付・読売社説)

The recent agreement by Japan Post Holdings Co. and Aflac Inc. to expand their business alliance should serve to improve the profitability of the nation’s postal services but not hamper fair competition in the domestic insurance market.

On Friday, the Japan Post Group’s holding company and the major U.S. insurance firm announced their decision to strengthen their partnership in the insurance business.

Aflac’s market share in Japan’s cancer insurance sector is currently 70 percent. The U.S. firm was firmly opposed to Japan Post Holding’s entry into the market, considering the Japanese government’s equity investment in the holding company.

In light of this, the recent deal seems unusual in that the two corporations will now fully cooperate in marketing their cancer insurance policies.

The agreement will result in an increase in the number of post offices selling Aflac cancer insurance to 20,000 from the current 1,000. This will be complemented by a similar marketing plan at shops directly managed by Japan Post Insurance Co., another arm of the holding company.

The accord also requires Aflac to develop a new cancer insurance instrument that will be marketed by Japan Post Holdings.

At a press conference Friday, Japan Post Holdings President Taizo Nishimuro emphasized the significance of the two corporations’ expanded business partnership. “It will both benefit customers and increase the value of the Japan Post Group,” he said. Nishimuro was named president of the holding company in June.

Going forward, it is important that Japan Post Holdings makes the most of the recent deal to further develop its insurance business. If it envisions the fortified partnership as a mere tool for boosting sales commissions, it will scarcely gain from the deal. To this end, Japan Post Holdings must continue fine-tuning the agreement.

In negotiations with Japan over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, the United States disapproved of an attempt by the holding company to expand the scope of its insurance services. This recent deal should nullify Washington’s concerns and remove a potential hindrance to progress in sideline TPP talks between the two nations. The move will likely prove advantageous in TPP negotiations as they shift into high gear.

Ensure fair competition

Meanwhile, the domestic life insurance industry is still apprehensive about what it sees as “a domineering partnership” between Japan Post Holdings and Aflac. Because the government owns shares in the holding company, some critics have called the arrangement a tacit government guarantee. Domestic life insurance firms fear the latest accord could eventually strain the private-sector insurance industry, just as the state-run postal business did before its privatization.

To invigorate the insurance market, it is essential to ensure fair competition. To achieve this, the government must keep a close watch on movements in the market.

The holding company hopes to list the government-held postal shares on the stock market in fiscal 2015. Profits from the sale of the listed shares will be used to help finance revitalization projects for areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Steady progress must be made in ensuring the shares are listed.

However, the shrinking scale of Japan Post Holdings’ operations is alarming, as the situation could impede the government’s efforts to list its postal stock.

Furthermore, Japan Post Insurance has seen an ongoing decline in its number of active contracts. There has also been a large drop in the quantity of mail, postcards and other related business handled by the Japan Post Group. To add insult to injury, the value of outstanding deposits at Japan Post Bank Co., another unit of the group, has steadily decreased in the wake of postal privatization.

Japan Post Holdings hopes to improve its profitability through such measures as an entry into the housing loan business. However, there are lingering concerns over its evaluation system for loan applications and supervision of internal operations.

Can Japan Post Holdings turn its business around to achieve tangible financial results? Nishimuro’s management skills will soon be tested.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 31, 2013)
(2013年7月31日02時10分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



WordPress.com ロゴ

WordPress.com アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Twitter 画像

Twitter アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Facebook の写真

Facebook アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Google+ フォト

Google+ アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

%s と連携中