At the Lower House Internal Affairs and Communications Committee meeting on Nov. 15, Diet member Takaaki Tamura said that American Family Life Assurance Company (Aflac), a major U.S. insurance firm, has gained an exclusive hold on Japan Post Holdings Company’s insurance operations, describing it as a foretaste of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
At the time of the privatization of Japan Post, Aflac strongly demanded the liberalization of Japan’s network of post offices. In 2013, Japan Post entered into a comprehensive business tie-up with Aflac and agreed to sell Aflac’s cancer-insurance products at its 20,000 post offices nationwide.
Tamura said that Aflac provides “overall training and guidance” to post offices regarding the sale of the cancer-insurance products and gives each post office and Japan Post employee a [sales] target. The American company also has the employees bring cancer-insurance product proposals to all customers to whom they present Japan Post insurance products.
Japan Post Holdings Managing Executive Officer Toru Inasawa responded, “We think the relationship is appropriate from the perspectives of improving our customer service and raising our corporate value.” “Japan Post made the business decision to enter into the tie-up,” added Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi, showing she is following the U.S.’s demands of Japan.
Tamura pointed out that this is “a foretaste of the TPP.” He criticized it, saying that post offices offer universal services and “must not become the target of American capital and profit-making by global companies.”