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.

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By GlobalData

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.