Japan’s expression of interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement has created a lobbying opportunity for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).
Using the membership application as a platform, the ACLI has called on the US government to use it as an opportunity to put pressure on Japan’s government to introduce reforms in the country’s life industry.
The ACLI’s specific target for reform is Japan Post Insurance (JPI), which, through its holding company Japan Post Holdings, is wholly-owned by the Japanese government.
The ACLI stresses that JPI currently enjoys “government-bestowed privileges which distort competition”. JPI ranks as the world’s largest life insurer.
The ACLI wants the US government to seek an agreement with the Government of Japan that would, among other things, “provide for no new or modified product offerings by JPI until equivalent conditions of competition have been established”.
This view, notes the ACLI, is shared by Japanese private insurers and by Japan’s other major trading partners.
JPI was heading for privatisation under the Postal privatisation Law. However, the privatisation process was halted in 2009 with no indication if or when it will resume.